May 2021

Get to Know the Healdsburg City Council  

The City Council is the governing body of the city. The 5 Council members are elected at large by the voters of Healdsburg for 4-year terms. Each year the Mayor is elected by a majority vote of the City Council. The Council sets the policy for the city and adopts an annual budget. The positions of City Manager, City Attorney and City Clerk are appointed by the council.

The City of Healdsburg found itself in the midst of controversy when Mayor Leah Gold announced she planned to step down on June 30, 2020 amid criticism she mishandled requests by the local Black Lives Matter movement and its allies to have a discussion on how police officers employ force in the line of duty.

According to the US News, Gold’s resignation comes two weeks after she and the majority of her City Council colleagues declined to have a formal discussion about police use of force policies amid the ongoing national push for an end to police brutality and systemic racism. “To me, it’s a solution looking for a problem. I don’t see that that’s a place I particularly want to put our time and energy”, she said. After her comments, she faced a torrent of calls for her resignation and during a demonstration in the town's plaza, a crowd encircled Gold and several other council members, reasserting their call for her to resign.

On July 7th, the City Council met virtually in an open public process to appoint someone to fill the seat vacated by Mayor Leah Gold. Businessman Ozzy Jimenez was appointed unanimously by the council after Mayor Gold’s seat was vacated.

Osvaldo Jimenez was not only appointed to the City Council but was appointed to Vice Mayor of Healdsburg despite not having any City Council experience. This move could be seen as merely political rather than one that was based on merits. He was a local businessman who became the third ever Latino councilmember in Healdsburg’s history. He is also believed to be the first openly gay member of the city council. A separate vote from the council also approved Jimenez to fill the remaining 2 and a half years of Gold’s term rather than having the seat up for election in November 2021. Vice Mayor Osvaldo Jimenez is a registered Democrat. He can be emailed at This Seat will be up for election in 2022.

Mayor Evelyn Mitchell has a business background and started her own consulting business, earned an Executive MBA, and volunteered on the board of the Humane Society of Sonoma County for over 10 years. Working mainly with family-owned businesses she helps clients define and achieve their goals. She was directly involved in helping restore the Healdsburg Animal Shelter and continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of Sonoma County. Mayor Mitchell is a registered Democrat. You can email Mayor Mtchell at  This Council Member seat will be up for election in 2022. However, there is a Council Member vote every year to see if Mayor Mitchell retains the position of Mayor or appoint another Council Member to become Mayor.

David Hagele was first elected to the Healdsburg City Council in 2016, served as Mayor in 2019 and was re-elected to a second four-year term in 2020. David worked for a family-owned commercial real estate investment company for more than a decade before starting his own real estate consulting firm based in Healdsburg. He has established a reputation as a leader in successfully arranging financing for local small businesses. He is a member of the Economic Development Steering Committee in Healdsburg and is registered as a Democrat. You can email Council Member Hagele at This seat will be up for election in 2024.

Council Member Ariel Kelley was the CEO and founder of the nonprofit Corazon Healdsburg, dedicated to ending cycles of poverty and bridging the racial divide in Healdsburg. Her nonprofit would help provide food and supplies to fire victims and also help set up college scholarship programs for all children in Healdsburg.She is known as a community leader and attorney. She has served as the Sonoma County Planning Commissioner, Director of the Sonoma County Transportation Authority and Director of the Regional Climate Protection Authority. She is also on the Advisory Committee of the Sonoma County Ag and Open Space District and a Member of the League of California Cities Environmental Quality Policy Committee. Council Member Kelley is a registered Democrat and is an elected assembly district delegate to the California State Democratic Party. She can be emailed at This seat is up for election in 2024.

Council Member Skylaer Palacios was born and raised in Healdsburg and graduated from Healdsburg High School in 2011. After high school she attended Santa Rosa Junior College before transferring to Sonoma State, where she graduated cum laude with a degree in Liberal Arts. Upon graduating from SSU, she worked for the City of Santa Rosa’s Recreation and Parks Department helping manage city-owned buildings and understanding how building use affects the surrounding neighborhoods. She was also a member of the Sonoma County Alliance where she learned about various policy changes and how social, environmental, or economic issues directly affect Sonoma County’s business community. When Mayor Gold resigned, she decided to throw her hat in the ring and run for City Council. Council Member Palacios is a registered Democrat and can be emailed at This seat is up for election in 2024.

Regular meetings of the City Council are held on the first and third Mondays of each month at 6:00 pm at the City Council Chamber located at 401 Grove Street. The City of Healdsburg’s website is very user friendly. You can review many items regarding Healdsburg. Please click on the calendar of events for upcoming meetings and minutes of past meetings or you can click the media section to access videos of past meetings. The government section will list many of the financial costs of various projects and plan information.



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