Drama Continues for the City of Calistoga

Carl Sherrill, newly-elected to the Calistoga City Council resigns three days after leaving his first council meeting, feeling sick.

Filling the seats of the City Council in Calistoga has never been more dramatic than presently. After having left the city council meeting on December 18, excusing himself to feel sick (you can review my previous blog), Carl Sherrill turned in his resignation a few days later to mayor Chris Canning.

In his letter he states that the councilmembers "demonstrated an arrogant disdain for the democratic process and for simple fair play" referring to the 3-1 vote that put Jim Barnes in the vacant seat instead of Charlotte Williams. And he further states: "his narrowly-constituted group clearly believes that they know what is best for Calistoga, but their vision of our future is far different from mine," here referring to the other councilmembers, mayor Chris Canning, Mike Dunsford, Gary Kraus, and newly-elected Jim Barnes.

Sherrill continues to explain that he does not see himself making any difference by staying on the Council, because he would have to face a 'stacked deck' as it is. Surely disappointing his many voters, Sherrill, however, sees the writing on the wall and opts out. Clearly, a major shift has taken place on the Council, and it will be interesting to see what that brings in 2013 and beyond.

Now, the question is: who will fill the new vacant seat? Here, the council can decide to hold a special election, can appoint someone from the recent election, or could call for applications from the general public. We will have to wait until the next council meeting on January 15 to know the outcome. Therefore, the drama continues... 

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Alex Shantz December 31, 2012 at 07:15 AM
I think most people, from all sides of the political spectrum, understand the benefit of a multiparty system. It is inherently more democratic and allows for more voices to be included in the electoral process. If we ever want a multiparty system to be a reality in this country, I firmly believe we need to start joining and building alternative parties. That is partly why I am a Green.
Lorie December 31, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Oh sure, all it needs to be done is to add more colors to the same flavored kool-aid! Imagine the possibilities...from bright blues and reds to pale pinks, oranges, yellows and a variety of greens and even purples...the shinier the better! That'll get the "wide spectrum" of voters really confused, and you probably have figured out by now that confusion always works to lure the [predictable] masses. Not much new at the end. Shiny yes, but not new.
elizabeth stokkebye December 31, 2012 at 04:51 PM
It's not a matter of confusion - it's about inclusion, inclusion of more voices and in regards to having many choices... that is second nature to the American citizen and consumer - where else in the world do you have dozens of cereals to choose from?
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau December 31, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Multi-party government would be ideal, there would be many perspectives on issues instead of just a few. The major problem would be the amount of time wasted from parties debating the good ideas from the bad. Carl Sherrill should have known that in a small town the probability of dealing with a "stacked deck" was high, especially in Napa Valley. This should have been under his consideration long before he entered into politics. By retaining his position he may not have been able to see his visions bloom, but he could have easily exposed the other politicians' golf course handshakes and hush-hush deals.
Alex Shantz January 02, 2013 at 01:40 AM
I absolutely agree. Chances are, the city council would have never voted in Carl Sherill's favor. But, there is more he could have accomplished by being on the council. He found a crack on the council and was able to fill that crack. If he had waited, perhaps Jim Barnes could have been recalled opening up another opportunity for Charlotte Williams to be appointed. Perhaps, he could have used his position to build the slow growth/environmentalist movement in Calistoga so someone else sharing his perspective could run and win a seat on the council in two years. Change can take time. But, there are practical steps that can be taken while we are realizing the broader vision. And, those of us that care about slow growth, the environment, and social justice need to start seriously working at getting elected into positions of power.


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