How do I...
This is a constantly evolving list. If you have a "How do I" question you'd like to add to this list, or if you have a correction or other suggestion, please email Diana at email@example.com so she can get it addressed. Thanks for helping to keep this page relevant and accurate!)
1. How do I contact my US Senator and US Representative?
a. You can figure out your current US Representative and US Senator by going to the US Congress's official site. Scroll down to "Current Members of Congress." Click on "Show all members." That will bring you to a screen where you can type in your exact address. The next screen will list your US Representative and US Senators. This will in turn lead you to their contact information (including phone numbers), bios, and website links (from which you can email them). All have newsletter sign ups on their websites, some on the landing page, but with all you can find it on the "Contact" page.
2. How do I contact my California State Senator and Assembly Member?
a. To find your current California Assembly Member and Senator go to the official California website. You'll type in your exact address and that will take you to a page that lists your California Assembly Member and Senator. If you click on the website links you'll be taken to their sites, which include contact info, email subscription sign ups, and methods for emailing them.
3. How do I contact the Sebastopol City Council?
a. To figure out who is currently on the Sebastopol City Council, go to Sebastopol City's webpage. You can get bios, emails, and phone numbers for all City Council members.
b. Currently representing Sebastopol (Jan 1, 2022): Mayor Neysa Hinton, Vice Mayor Diana Rich, and Councilmembers Sandra Maurer, Jill McLewis, and Stephen Zollman.
c. The very best way to contact all City Councilmembers is to send an email to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your email will automatically be forwarded to all five elected officials on the City Council.
4. How do I sign up for email updates from my representatives?
Here are all the links: US Representative Jared Huffman (click here), US Senator Laphonza Butler (click here), California Senator Mike McGuire (click here), California Assembly Member Jim Wood (click here), and of course our Supervisor Lynda Hopkins (click here).
5. How do I get the zoom link and other information for Sebastopol City Council meetings?
All meetings past and future are listed on the City of Sebastopol's City Council meetings page (click here). Select the meeting date and click that to get to the zoom link, agenda, and other documents. If it's a past meeting, the site will include the video recording of the meeting.
6. How do I view all the recordings of City Council meetings?
The City's livestream channel has all past recordings of City Council meetings (click here). This is also the place you can go if you want to view a meeting that is in progress. Just remember that this is a "view only" option. You won't be able to make comments using livestream. For that, you'll have to sign on using the official zoom link for the meeting.
7. How do I sign up to receive email notifications of upcoming City Council Meetings?
Usually the agenda, zoom link, and supporting documents for a meeting are posted by the Thursday before the meeting date. As soon as these are posted, a notification goes out by email to anyone on that email list. To sign up to receive those notifications, to the "Connect with the City of Sebastopol" webpage (click here), and select "City Council Meeting Agendas" in the checklist.
8. How do I sign up for the City's E-Newsletter?
The City of Sebastopol publishes an E-newsletter weekly. That's a great way to make sure you don't miss information about key City-related issues. To sign up to receive those notifications, go to the "Connect with the City of Sebastopol" webpage (click here), and select "Newsletters" in the checklist.
9. How to I sign up for alerts from the City on specific topics?
The City of Sebastopol has a subscription service that allows you to get alerts on specific topics, such as the budget, climate issues, fire services, to name a few. To sign up for these topic-specific alerts, go to the "Subscribe to e-Alerts" page on the City website (click here).
10. How do I submit written comments to the City Council?
The very best way to contact all City Councilmembers on any topic is to send an email to the following address: email@example.com. Your email will automatically be forwarded to all five elected officials on the City Council.
11. How do I participate in City Council meetings?
You can email your comments via firstname.lastname@example.org (see separate "How do I" question). You can also comment verbally during the meeting itself. For items not on the agenda, there is public comment at the beginning of the meeting. For items on the agenda there is public comment invited after the item is presented (first Councilmembers ask questions, then the public offers comments, and then the item comes back to the City Council for discussion and any needed decision or direction to staff).
12. How do I check the case history on a pending Sonoma County Court case?
Sonoma County Superior Court's "case management system portal" offers case information. Click here for the site. Follow the prompts. Select "Click here to access the portal," then "accept" the conditions of access, next click on "search hearings," and then fill out the form with the case number (if you have it) or other relevant information. That will take you to a page where all the proceedings for that particular case are listed. This doesn't provide access to all filed documents, but it lists all filings and provides a calendar of past and future scheduled court proceedings.
13. How do I find events in Sebastopol?
- Visit Sebastopol Events Calendar
- Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce West County Calendar
- Sebastopol Community Cultural Center Events Calendar
- Sebastopol Center for the Arts Classes and Events
- What's Happening at The Barlow
- Sonoma County Calendar of Events
- Eventbrite Calendar for Sebastopol
14. How do I find volunteer opportunities in Sebastopol?
15. How do I find out about nonprofits and service clubs that serve Sebastopol?
16. How do I find campaign and finance documents filed by candidates and elected officials?
- All Form 700s, including those for Sebastopol's elected officials, can be found through the FPPC's transparency portal. The form is easy to use. As an example, to get all the Form 700s filed by Sebastopol City Council members, select “Cities N-Z” for entity, “City of Sebastopol” for Agency and “Council member” for Position.
- All campaign filings for City of Sebastopol candidates can be accessed here. These include for example Forms 410, and 460, among others. To find campaign filings for jurisdictions other than Sebastopol, the best starting point is the Secretary of State's site, where many but not all jurisdictions in California post their campaign filings. As a general rule, however, the election official within each city of county will be able to provide access to campaign filings.
- For questions about campaign filings for the City of Sebastopol, the best contact is Mary Gourley, the City's election official: email@example.com.
17. How do I track ballots returned?
- You can check the number of ballots mailed and the number returned for a particular jurisdiction at any time by going to the PDI website. You can check in real time on the PDI website beginning on the date that ballots are mailed. You can also sign up to receive daily reports directly to your email inbox.
- For each election, PDI sets up a Ballot Tracker that is accessible to the public, at no charge.
- For 2022 the PDI Ballot Tracker is HERE.
- For future elections it will likely be a different direct link. You can find it by doing an internet search for "PDI Ballot Tracker."