Get to Know the City Council of Sonoma
The City Council of Sonoma is riddled with controversy to say the least. In October 2020, City Councilmember and former Mayor David Cook was arrested for child molestation. Following his arrest, two of Cook’s council colleagues called for his resignation, but Cook did not resign, instead choosing not to attend the final two city council meetings. On December14, 2020, his seat was filled by Sonoma resident Jack Ding, who ran uncontested. In July 2021, Cook was found guilty of repeatedly engaging in acts of molestation of an 11-year-old girl. Because of his “lack of remorse” during the trial he was sentenced to a six-year prison sentence without the possibility of parole.
Also, in the middle of David Cook’s controversy we have seen 3 more councilmembers step down in the last 6 months. Rachel Hundley left mid-term citing a fractious working relationship with fellow councilmembers stating that “Unfortunately, the city council has continued down a path of reckless and, at times, disturbing actions to settle personal scores, grant favors, and elevate only themselves,” Hundley said then. “I don’t have the stomach for it anymore.”
A few months later, Sonoma Mayor Logan Harvey resigned from the city council when he announced that, “Due to a significant career opportunity, I will be resigning as Mayor and my wife and I will be leaving Sonoma on June 8th.” Harvey was elected to the council in 2018. He served as mayor in 2020 and was chosen by fellow councilmembers to continue in that role through 2021. We also saw Council Member Amy Harrington step down in July 2021 for undisclosed reasons.
Here is a look at the remaining City Council Members.
Current acting Mayor, Madolyn Argimonti was moved back to Mayor on June 21st, 2021, when Logan Harvey stepped down. She was first elected to the Sonoma City Council in 2014 and served as Mayor prior to Logan Harvey taking over in 2018. Mayor Argimonti also served as a City Council Member and Mayor of Daly City from 1990 to 2002. The election to fill this seat will be in 2022. She is a registered Democrat and can be reached by emailing her at: Madolyn.Agrimonti@sonomacity.org
Vice Mayor Jack Ding was elected in 2020 and ran uncontested. It is surprising to see that someone with no experience finds himself in the Vice Mayor position as a matter of attrition. He is a member of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society, Sierra Club and the Citizens to Renew the City of Sonoma's Urban Growth Boundary. He believes in “Planet and People over Profit” as a Climate Change activist. The election for this seat is in 2024. He is a registered Democrat and can be reached by emailing him at: email@example.com
Council Member Kelso Barnett was appointed to fill the council member vacancy created by the resignation of Council Member Rachel Hundley. Council Member Barnett was sworn in at the March 1st City Council Meeting and his appointment was effective immediately. He has served on the City’s Planning Commission. The election to fill this seat is in 2024. He is a registered Democrat and can be reached by emailing him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Member Bob Felder was appointed to fill the council member vacancy created by the resignation of Logan Harvey and also the sudden announcement that Council Member Amy Harrington was going to resign effective July 1st. Council Member Felder was sworn in at the June 21st City Council Meeting and his appointment was effective immediately. He has served on the City’s Planning Commission for over 10 years. The election to fill this seat is in 2024. He is a registered Democrat and can be reached by emailing him at: email@example.com
The Sonoma City Council normally meets at 6:00 p.m., on the first and third Monday of each month. Meetings are held in the Community Meeting Room at 177 First Street West, Sonoma California. City Council meetings are broadcast live on Sonoma TV Channel 27 and streamed live on their website. Archived video can be viewed here.
There will be a special election on November 2, 2021, in order to fill the 5th seat on the City Council. It seems that Council Members are resigning faster than they can elect them. Hopefully Sonoma can find some decent replacements for City Council that will represent the city’s residents.
There will be three candidates running for the 5th seat. Mike Nugent, a small business owner, former Hospital Director and Director of the Community Health Center will be running as Unaffiliated. Sandra Lowe, who is a small business owner and served as a member of the Sonoma Valley School Board will be running as a Democrat. The final candidate, James Cribb is also a small business owner who is a member of the Sonoma Planning Commission and is running as a Democrat. You can view the official Candidate Statement here.
“It is easy to become cynical and to assume there is not hope for something better. There is always hope—and more than that, there is always a possibility of doing better. Like all of our governments, city government belongs to its people. Perhaps it is time for the people of Sonoma to start expecting more from their elected officials.” - former Council Member Rachel Hundley.