Making The Rounds - Ken Brown

Notes from Sonoma’s new mayor

Good news first. Roy and Risa, the folks whose house burned down, have found a place to live. They are so grateful for the outpouring of love and help. We do live on God’s soil. 

I am now your mayor of Sonoma. Monday night the Sonoma City Council said farewell to Mayor Joanne Sanders, Public Works Director Milenka Bates, City Engineer Toni Bertolero and the mighty Linda Kelly, Sonoma’s city manager for the last five years. Please notice that all these women have been keeping Sonoma on the right path, focused on community and in the black financially. Unlike just about any other city in California or the United States we have survived the recent financial meltdown with no staff reductions, no reductions in services and no closure.

Our excellent Karma has provided us with our new City Manager Carol Giovanatto. Carol is a long time City of Sonoma senior staffer who has had a long career in city governing. She is totally up to speed on all issues facing the city and has the heart to keep us open to our constituents. I implore everyone to come to council meetings or watch democracy in your home by tuning in the meeting on SUN TV Cable 27 and, brought to you by the Common Bond Foundation. Our meetings are the first and third of each month. Agendas are posted on and I have my office hours at City Hall on Tuesdays from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. All is confidential and no appointment is needed. 

I am asking the staff at the Sun to run Mayor Sanders’ farewell speech in the next edition. It was an excellent summation of her eight years serving the citizens of Sonoma and Sonoma Valley. It deserves to be read in full. I am also proud to report that our wonderful City Clerk Gay Johann announced that in the recent election the City of Sonoma had a voter turnout of 87 percent – that’s just awesome.

We also welcomed back Council Member Laurie Gallian and our newest member and leading vote-getter, David Cook. David is familiar to those who read this newspaper for his ongoing column. Councilmember Steve Barbose and our new Mayor Pro Tem Tom Rouse continue their service, so it’s going to be a banner year with significant progress made on the Sebastiani Theatre lease, a community swimming pool and sidewalks in the Springs. 

I had a wonderful experience as an Ambassador at Sonoma Hopmonk Tavern for Dining Out for Life and the Sonoma County AIDS Food Bank. The tavern was packed and I want to make sure I let folks know how hard the wait staff, reception staff, bartenders and chefs work. They are uniformly professional, genuinely friendly and, most importantly, real. I want to personally thank owner Dean Biersch for his willingness to donate to such a worthy cause. Folks can still donate to

Participate in the first ever Sonoma Plaza Holiday Display Window Contest running now through December 16. Vote for your favorite holiday window and be entered to win a Plaza Merchant gift basket valued at over $1,000. Sip, Shop, Dine Local. 

First Friday is this week. At the Sunflower Caffe they are having a retrospective from 5 to 7 p.m. They will feature the following artists: Joan Hart, Sandie Nalezny, Mike Hardin, Larry Mirphy, Carol Myers, Mark Lifvendahl, Terri Hollifield, Will Combs, Mila Chaname and Jennifer Cabaud. JoyRide will provide the music. Wine and nibbles are available and the address is 421 First St. W. At the Epicurean Connection, 122 W. At the Sonoma Community Center’s Gallery 212, is the opening of “Carved’ by the Center’s Artist in Residence Bobby Free from 5 to 7 p.m. Wine and nibbles available. Art is alive and well in Sonoma so please go out and support it. 

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