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August 5, 2021
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Cotati focuses on cannabis and discrimination

By: Paul Matli
April 16, 2021

Sometimes city council meetings can be straight forward, to the point and don’t usually allow room for discussion. Tuesday’s meeting however, was a different story. With the recent investigation going on with Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli and some news about racist attacks against Asian Americans, community members really got the chance to share their opinions.

On top of these two major stories, the council again took the time to hear from Monahan Company cannabis company about their project. The council then had a chance to vote on these various resolutions. Moreover, the council made two proclamations before the meeting started; one was recognizing April 2021 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and recognizing April 11 through the 17, 2021 as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.

The most important part of the meeting came when community members got their turn to speak. After all, the council is elected to serve the people, so hearing what the people have to say is important.

This portion of the evening covered a number of topics from racial attacks to sexual assault. Of course, the big news was about the ongoing investigation into Windsor Mayor Foppoli. Foppoli has been asked to resign in a letter signed by all the other Sonoma County Mayors because of allegation of sexual misconduct, but so far has refused. Several community members were hoping that Cotati will help in the effort to remove him, which the council said the city is working towards.

Another big discussion was about an anti-Asian hate crime which recently occurred. An Asian man stood up in front of the council and shared his experience of being racially profiled and berated. He said while walking down the street he was told to go back to his home country by a few men. This prompted quite a few community members to voice their support for him and condemn any form of racism. In a town as small as Cotati, it doesn’t seem like the kind of place where racism would exist, but this attack shows that even in the smallest community racism still exists.

 Last council meeting the council adopted a resolution in support of the Asian and Pacific Islander community. So, the council and the city have made it known where they stand.

Issues of sexual assault and race are two of the biggest issues in the country right now; not only because they are prominent in society, but also because they lead to strong opinions every which way.

The meeting resumed with much talk about marijuana. Marijuana seems to be one of the more popular topics for the council. It seems every month or so they take up a resolution regarding a new cannabis dispensary. This time it was Monahan Pacific looking for an extension of the previously approved commercial cannabis retail and distribution permit. After hearing a detailed presentation, Council member Susan Harvey didn’t change from her previous position, which was to not approve the resolution right now. She was joined by a couple of her other colleagues in this.

A few other things of note for the council included participation in CIRA’S Joint Employment Practices Liability and Workers Compensation Programs. The specifics of this program included the following:

1. A resolution authorizing participation in the Employment Risk Management Authority (ERMA)

2. A resolution of the City of Cotati authorizing participation in California Intergovernmental Risk Authority (CIRA) workers compensation program effective July 1, 2021.

3. A resolution authorizing application to the Director of Industrial Relations, State of California for a certificate of consent to self-insure workers compensation liabilities.

4. The council also were able to hear the First Annual Police Chief Report to the community. This was a good report to have since it’s well known the relationship between cops and certain community groups has been strained over the years. It was good for the community to hear what the Cotati Police Dept. is doing and to know that at the end of the day the police are there to serve the community.

  Of course, the meeting also consisted of City Manager Damien O’Bid giving his update regarding vaccinations, what tier Sonoma County’s in and what things are opening up. Tuesday was a meeting filled with much good information for community members to think about.