October 15, 2021
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Cotati honors and appreciates

  • Caze Derammelaere, eighth grader at Lawrence Jones Middle School participating in Expeditionary Learning, was nominated by his teachers and principal and accepted by the Cotati City Council to became Honorary Mayor of Cotati for May, 2019.

By: Lanny Lowery
May 24, 2019

Bestowing honors and an appointment occupied Cotati City Council one night following the council room’s packed house planning commission meeting discussing the prospective downtown hotel.  The council recognized the work of the Cotati Design Committee with a reception, welcomed the Honorary Mayor for May and appointed a new City Attorney.

Other business as usual completed the May 14 agenda.  Three action items on the consent calendar were passed 5-0.  First, the council adopted a resolution accepting the P-1 Sewer Pipeline as complete.  Second, the council approved Professional Services Agreements with Moe Engineering, Inc.   And, finally, an amendment to general engineering services agreement passed.

The early portion of the meeting celebrated the work of the Cotati Design Committee whose services ended.  The committee was thanked as staff takes over its duties.  The council recognized three members in attendance:  Eris Weaver, Carl Lampent and Tim Morgan, who served the city for more than ten years.  The council referred to the group as the unsung heroes who dealt with the details in design.

Next, the council honored Caze Derammelaere, an eighth grader in Expeditionary Learning at Lawrence Jones Middle School, as Honorary Mayor for the month of May.  Caze reported that his main interests were sports and studying business.  He has enjoyed annual trips to Yosemite.  Having selected Rancho Cotate as his high school, he is excited to choose his own electives and is especially interested in design and sports management.   He wants to stay local and continue with his school district.  Mayor John Dell’Osso gave him a two-week homework assignment:  Talk to friends to find out what service for teens is missing in Cotati, Caze will report back May 28.

During public comment, former City Councilman George Barich expressed his concern about an ethics accusation stating that the council owed Laurie Alderman an apology.  Later, he criticized overspending in the P-1 Sewer Project.  He told the council: “It really concerns me that we have this lackadaisical attitude that you go over budget without any concern.”  No one on the council responded to this comment.

Next on the agenda, staff recommended that the city council adopt a resolution appointing John Bakker as City Attorney and Successor Agency to the former Redevelopment Agency Attorney.  This need opened when Robin Donoghue announced her retirement date as May 31, 2019.  She had filled this position since the beginning of 2014.  Bakker, currently City Attorney for Dublin, would begin June 11.

During public comment on this item, George Barich requested that this decision be postponed for thirty days.  He felt that this important decision should not be made that night because Bakker did not attend the meeting.  Barich thought it unusual to hire a city attorney without an interview.  Another member of the audience stood up to support Barich’s view.

Then members of the council responded.  Wendy Skillman said, “We did interview Mr. Bakker in closed session.”  Attorney Donoghue added that this was the typical method of interview used throughout California.  Susan Harvey offered, “We were extremely satisfied with John Bakker in our interview.”  Mark Landman stated, “I am completely comfortable with Ms. Donoghue’s recommendation” of Bakker.

The city council then voted 5-0 to adopt a resolution appointing John Bakker as City Attorney.  Later in the meeting, George Barich suggested that in the future the city council should not interview in private.  He said, “The reason you bring this person in front of the public is because he needs public vetting.”

City Manager Damien O’Bid reported on nineteen specific activities.  With warm weather, irrigation leaks become more prevalent and those concerned can sign up for leak alerts.  Cotati cadets assisted at the Butter and Egg Festival in Petaluma.  The city has received notes of appreciation for the stop sign near the fire station and East Cotati.  A community meeting will be held to discuss the redwood tree that has destroyed the sidewalk near Aguirre and Myrtle.

O’Bid gave an update on the Sunflower paving project near the railroad station and the city limits.  He expects a bid next month on road construction for L section and Benson, resurfacing. Repairs will mitigate sound at the well pump.  The Zipline rubberized surface at Cotate Park will be replaced.  

Sunflower Park tennis lessons will be offered, see recreation guide.  The Farmer’s Market opens in early June.  There will be a movie in the park, “The Goonies,” shown June 7.  The city will host a scavenger hunt for children.  Summer camp registration is now open but filling quickly.  Register online.  And Rancho Cotate High is partnering with the City of Cotati with its hospitality course that has been designed by Rancho students.

Along with all of these activities and reports, the city council celebrated the work of the Design Review Committee Members, the selection of the Honorary Mayor for May and appointed a new city attorney.  All this after hosting the well attended Planning Commission Meeting discussing the proposed hotel the previous night.  Quite a work week for Cotati and its council and yet three more days left in the work week.