To the Healdsburg community,
We learned this morning that Leah Gold, Mayor, City of Healdsburg is resigning from the Healdsburg City Council, effective June 30, 2020. Her statement to the public is below. Serving as a councilmember can be both fulfilling and challenging, and we are living in a period of great change not just in Healdsburg, but around the world.
We thank Mayor Gold for her many years of faithful service and council guidance, and we wish her all the best.
Statement from Mayor Gold:
The murder of George Floyd has shone a bright light on America’s systemic racism, and particularly on how some police officers routinely treat BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) people with bias, abuse, and violence. There is tremendous momentum for substantive change, and I welcome it. I fully support the Black Lives Matter movement and am eager to consider and adopt policies that advance its goals.
I signed the Mayor’s Pledge (https://www.obama.org/mayor-pledge/) to investigate and reform police use-of-force policies, and I’ve been proceeding with those four steps. Our current policies and the anti-bias training our officers receive are posted on the City’s website (https://www.ci.healdsburg.ca.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=449) and on social media channels. At our June 15 Council meeting, the Police Chief provided a detailed report and offered an innovative plan to fill two open police officer positions with licensed clinical social workers, which was greeted with great enthusiasm by all members of the Council.
But there are broader issues to be addressed. I’ve been listening to accounts of racism experienced in Healdsburg by our BIPOC residents. People of color face bias and discrimination daily in small and large ways, and often do not feel heard by their government and representatives. We clearly need to work on creating a more inclusive environment in Healdsburg. It is often lamented that although Latinx residents and other people of color comprise over 30% of our population, they are not represented on City Council. I would like to help change that.
As a Council member, I have consistently championed issues that make a real difference to less-privileged Healdsburg residents, such as building and preserving affordable housing, preventing evictions and mandating relocation compensation when evictions do occur, supporting our local nonprofit Corazon in their outreach and assistance to Latinx residents, building a police force that is more bilingual/bicultural, and supporting Reach for Home and St. Paul’s Church in their efforts to aid the unsheltered and prevent residents from falling into homelessness.
Although I feel positively about my contributions and have many loyal supporters, I’m certain there are also many BIPOC members of our community who could serve our city well. As I’ve considered how I can help Healdsburg advance in racial justice during this critical juncture, I believe that one of the ways I can contribute is by creating a space for a person of color to join the City Council.
I have decided to step down from the Council. It is my assumption that the Council will choose to allow the electorate to decide who will complete the final two years of my term, by adding it to the ballot on the General Election November 3. It is my hope that one or more BIPOC resident will step forward as a candidate. It would be as a Councilmember, not as Mayor, as my mayoral term expires in December.
To become a candidate for City Council, file nomination papers at City Hall with 25 signatures of Healdsburg voters who support you and pay a filing fee to County of Sonoma. The filing period is July 13 – August 12. If you are interested in learning more about the role and duties of a Councilmember, please reach out to me, Vice Mayor Evelyn Mitchell, or any other member of the City Council.
We seem to be living through a rare period of history where we have momentum to make significant gains towards justice and equality in the United States. I believe that if more diverse leadership is one of the things we accomplish in this moment, it will be an important step forward for our city.
Mayor, City of Healdsburg