point arena politics - Get the facts Lauren Sinnott Mayor

Point Arena Centennial Seal design, Lauren Sinnott, copyright 2008



NEW: The NO Recall Campaign Booklet

Click above to get the lowdown on the recall effort, reasons, candidates and a lot more you won't hear elsewhere!

For instance, should you remove four effective, experienced Councilmembers from office and vote for someone who not only resigned last year from the seat he now seeks, but also whistleblew on himself after committing the Brown Act violation that is cited as a major reason for the recall itself?

Hint: NO

Mark NO beneath the names of each Councilmember on your ballot and mail it in!

Point Arena Politics



Lauren Sinnott is serving her second term as Mayor of the City of Point Arena.

She has been a member of the Point Arena City Council since 2000, including two terms as Vice-Mayor.

Good government

It is hoped that this set of pages will help Lauren and other current Councilmembers connect with you the reader/resident/constituent.

"I feel that my decisions have been guided by a commitment to

  • fiscal responsibility
  • creative thinking
  • fairness & consistency
  • keeping the Senior Center in Point Arena
  • keeping the Library and Theater alive & well
  • enhancing our harbor facility & fishery
  • supporting local business and agriculture
  • smart growth, not no-growth
  • understanding and seeking outside fund sources
  • learning from our sister cities
  • and not reinventing the wheel...

...unless we have to!"

-Lauren Sinnott


More to come...



Qualifications for Office of Mayor and Accomplishments of the last two years
Lauren Sinnott 1/25/2011

Dear Colleagues,

I have been Administrative Commissioner and Mayor for the past two years and am willing to continue, should it be your pleasure. Although the Mayoral position has few special powers, there is a lot to the job. I feel that these two years were an excellent training period and that I have grown into the job. There are projects that I want to see through and I hope also to continue to improve my performance in order to best serve the city.

Following are the elements of our Municipal Code that shape the role of Point Arena Mayor.

2.10.020 Commissions established.
(5) Administrative commission, whose duties shall be dealing with issues of a general administrative nature coordinating the council with city clerk/administrator; handling general administrative matters not otherwise assigned to any other commissioner; dealing with matters of intergovernmental liaison and making recommendations thereon to the full council. [Res. 6-89 § 3, 1989.]

 2.10.050 Mayor exempt.
The council member holding title as mayor shall, at the option of the mayor, be exempt from commission duties in recognition of the time and responsibilities inherent in that position and it is hereby established that the mayor, as the most visible figure of local government, be charged with matters of public relations and promotion. [Res. 6-89 § 6, 1989.]

2.10.060 Appointments – Vacancies.
The above commission appointments shall be made by the mayor and vacancies shall be filled within 30 days. [Res. 6-89 § 7, 1989.]


In terms of “public relations and promotion,” I have devoted myself to getting the City’s message out to the public in print and in person.

I have worked very well with our Vice-Mayor, David Ingham, whose dedication to seeking the truth and willingness to study and understand the issues I respect very much. I am proud of my working relationship with all members of the current Council.

I offer a depth of experience with the City going back to 2000. I have our documented history in the form of past packets, which are a treasure trove of information!

Relating to that, I researched and wrote our detailed Response to the Grand Jury Report on Point Arena, during the course of which the GJ only interviewed one employee, yet made far-reaching pronouncements on our staff structure. A huge amount of time and research went into that project, which is now an approved, publically accessible report on our structure and practices.

I have taken on quite a bit of legal research – as our Attorney knows -- especially involving CA Election Code and Labor Law & Regulations.

I believe I have adhered to a policy of fiscal responsibility and care with public funds (your money) even when it led me to decisions that were unpopular with some.

As Mayor I championed the creation of two important advisory committees: Finance and Personnel. The Finance Committee consists of the four staff department heads as well as the Mayor and Treasurer. Staff can examine their departmental budgets together, within the big picture, and address financial questions posed by Council. The Personnel Committee consists of two Councilmembers and meets as needed to research personnel issues and to assist employees if they desire.

Initiated the Pay Rates and Steps for city departments, so that pay increase requests will no longer be dealt with in a vacuum, so that a fair picture of our whole staff is accessible and so we may make pay range decisions before there is a specific request. This work was done with Eloisa Oropeza (of our Personnel Committee) and in consultation with Judy Murray, former Business Manager of the Point Arena School District. I wrote reports for the Personnel Committee on Holiday Pay Practices (more complicated than it sounds!) and the FLSA status of the City Clerk/Administrator position under the Department of Labor’s Administrative Exemption.

Spearheaded identifying $9000 in the budget to devote to grant-writing and led the search and interview process resulting in the selection of City Grant Writer Carolyn Carleton (here today.) I conceived of and got approval for our Grant-Writing Workshop to be held in Fort Bragg, where Councilmembers, the Grant-Writer and the Clerk as well as any other interested staff will learn the essentials of Municipal grant-writing from Fort Bragg’s successful program administrator and where we’ll tour their funded infrastructure projects.

Secured our agreement with the Mendocino County Planning Department to update our Housing Element, at a cost of $15,000, which saved us perhaps another $15,000 should we have contracted with a consultant, and kept jobs in-county.
Involvement in the Community Action Plan team selection and public participation process -- helping to focus consultant DC&E on the concrete, engineerable solutions that made our CAP a very useful document. It lead directly to the successful Safe Routes to School (SR2S) grant application, for which I was prepared by my education as an MCOG boardmember. The SR2S $450,000 together with the subsequent MCOG 2% Bike & Ped grant of $70,000 is bringing over half a million dollars to Point Arena to accomplish crucial safety improvements we could NEVER get done on our own.
During the CAP process, I had pre-conceived ideas about an ideal Senior Center, but I listened to the Seniors regarding their needs for parking, flat terrain, a modern facility and housing. I have worked to help them achieve their goals, within the scope of the City’s guiding documents. I am committed to helping the Senior Center make its permanent home in Point Arena.

I offer my experience in conducting searches for and interviews of new employees, most recently Brian Murphy, Jason Ives and Hunter Alexander. The most involved search was for the City Clerk/Administrator position and I arranged for the county-wide as well as Bay Area and online advertising which was accomplished significantly under budget. I coordinated the employment opportunity packets and applicant responses. We had over 20 respondents from as far as Sacramento and Eureka and we conducted 10 in-person interviews, ending with a top choice who accepted our offer.

I worked closely with our insurer PARSAC on personnel and legal issues, calling on the labor and personnel expertise of their lawyers (we get 1 hour free/month) when it best supplements the knowledge of our City Attorney.

I hope I have done a good job of representing the City to other entities and agencies, such as the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM, in which program we are one of only five Gateway Cities and hosted their 10th Birthday Party here at the Theater), MCOG, CalCog, County Planning, Caltrans, our sister cities, and County staff such as CEO Carmel Angelo, County Counsel Janine Nadel, County Clerk/Recorder Sue Ranochak, and Sherriff Allman.

I have derived benefit for Point Arena from networking with our sister cities’ elected officials and staff, who have been immeasurably helpful to us in many instances. I am especially grateful to Linda Ruffing, City Manager of Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg Grant Program Administrator Jennifer Owen, Cindy VanWormer City Clerk of Fort Bragg, Councilmember Dan Gjerde of Fort Bragg, as well as Alan Falleri, Community Development Administrator in Willits and all members of the Mendocino Board of Supervisors.

Work on the Arena Creek issue and the problem of the pilings and parking lot flooding with Pier Manager Peter Bogdahn.
In fact, I am proud of my interaction with our City employees. Tom has told me he always feels better after coming to discuss something with me. Peter is a rock and a jewel. I enjoy working with Kathy and now Hunter in the Administrative Office very much. I take our responsibility as an employer seriously and believe I have been of service to the city through my experience with personnel issues, protecting employees’ rights and conducting effective performance evaluations. This is an area that is not always easy.

The transition period during which we were without a Clerk while we conducted our search was very demanding. Kathy was valiant in helping maintain some normalcy in the office and I think I did my part, as well. There was a lot for all of us on staff and Council to do to keep the office running. My task of agenda and packet preparation was pretty big, on top of trying to be a Mom and a bread-winner—that’s where I really let it slide—but it was a job that needed doing, in addition to preparing the office for the entry of a new Clerk/Administrator. Hunter has taken what I started there and gone 1000% further. She deserves an enormous amount of praise!

I want to work on my weaknesses and play on my strengths. It has been a wild ride, these two years, but it’s been an intensive training, as well. Even years of Council service, such as my eight prior to becoming Mayor, do not fully prepare for the job. I do not think it is good policy to seat a councilmember as Mayor who has little or no experience.

Furthermore, I feel this Council has been honest to the public and has only kept silent when legally bound to do so. Yet there is a perception of non-transparency that I will do all I can to dispel. I will happily meet with anyone who has any concern. I would welcome a free and frank meeting of this council and our critics. It would be great to take each point one by one and state our views and present our facts, then perhaps come closer together or at least agree to disagree. The atmosphere of some of the recall energy has sunk into personal attacks, lewd threats left on my door while my son and I are working at the theater and worse. I am asking as a community member and as a mother that such actions based on personal vendetta be quelled.

I ask you today to judge me on the merits of my work. I would like you to reject the threat of recall and anger as a reason to vote against me. Appeasing emotional bullying is not good public policy. Do vote against me if you do not like the job I’ve done or if there is another candidate who is better qualified in your view, but not to play into the threats that we have all had. I think we are an excellent team, now joined by a new face who I anticipate working with as well.

No matter how this vote turns out, I am committed to the smooth functioning of this Council and to the well-being of the City of Point Arena.

Lauren Sinnott

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Letter of Recommendation from 5th District County Supervisor Dan Hamburg
Letter of Recommendation from 2nd District County Supervisor John McCowen (also submitted to ICO)
Letter of Recommendation from 3rd District County Supervisor Johnny Pinches
Letter of Recommendation from Streets Supervisor Tom Reid and Pier Supervisor Peter Bogdahn
Letter of Recommendation from Lisa Riboli, Point Arena resident

Letter to Point Arena City Council:


I support the work of the current City Council, including Mayor Lauren Sinnott. 

Point Arena has long benefitted from the selfless work of individuals who step forward and stand up to the controversy that is an inevitable part of local politics.  Mayor Sinnott has proven her commitment and her savvy as an elected official, most recently through her lead role in securing a Safe Routes to Schools grant for Point Arena.

I am saddened that a recall effort has been launched against members of the current Council.  In my opinion, this is a misuse of the recall process, which should be reserved for situations of misconduct in office. 

Dan Hamburg

Fifth District Supervisor, Mendocino County

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Editor, Independent Coast Observor:

I always marvel at how a small city like Point Arena can accomplish so much in terms of improvements to community and public infrastructure. A key factor is that Point Arena has been blessed with progressive leadership and community members who are willing to dedicate their personal time and energy to public service. This has been true at least since the days of Raven B. Earlygrow and the efforts to acquire and restore the Arena Theatre. It was certainly true of Leslie Dahlhoff and the improvements to public infrastructure like the Port Road project. It is no less true of Mayor Lauren Sinnott and Councilmembers David Ingham and Joe Riboli, all of whom I know, and who are right in line with the exemplary tradition of public service established by their predecessors.

Point Arena is unique in that it has very limited staff and has relied on the Mayor and Councilmembers to take on the roles normally filled by high paid City Managers, Department Directors, grant writers and administrators.

Point Arena’s unique management structure may be driven by economic necessity, but it also relies on the good will of the elected officials who receive no additional compensation for the extra hours of service they provide. Over the years some Councilmembers have been better positioned or better qualified or more willing to provide these services than others, but the effective functioning of Point Arena as a municipality has always relied on a core group of elected officials and community members who have been willing to go above and beyond to serve their community.

I previously served on the Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) which serves as the local planning body for the distribution of state transportation funding. Every time I go to Point Arena I confess to being a little jealous when I see the public infrastructure improvements funded by MCOG transportation dollars. Point Arena’s success is directly attributable to Mayor Sinnott (and Mayor Dahlhoff before her) who have taken the time to understand the funding and grant requirements and who have secured millions of dollars to improve bike, pedestrian and traffic safety to make Point Arena more inviting and livable. The Safe Routes to Schools grant written by Mayor Sinnott is the most recent example.
It is curious that the recall proponents say dissatisfaction has been brewing for two years, yet none stepped forward to run for Council during the most recent election. Recall is an extreme (and expensive) remedy that should be reserved for cases where an elected official is clearly incapable of serving in the public interest, not because of personal or political disagreements. I do agree that everyone should get involved, attend the Council meetings and get informed. Even the critics might learn that Point Arena is being well served by the present Council.
John McCowen
Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, Second District
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January 24, 2011

Honorable Council members,

I have known Lauren Sinnott for about 10 years; we were both on the Governance Council at PCCS and my son spends as much time as he can at her loving home.  I even rented a room from her for a while, and consider her one of my closest friends. 

I admire Lauren’s ability to intelligently, positively and creatively solve problems and not get mired in negativity or defeated by conflicts that would appear insurmountable by some.

I am impressed by her ever expanding knowledge and capacity to comprehend numerous and varied concepts, from artwork to operations, always inquisitive.  Lauren is a fabulous social networker and is comfortable with folks from diverse walks of life, from simple to prestigious, I’ve witnessed her pointing out the shinning attributes of others, finding the good in people and letting them know they are valued. 

She is motivated to step beyond the city limits to discern what programs or methods benefit Point Arena. 

Lauren exudes confidence in her ability to put her best effort forward.  Her decisions are solution oriented and knowledge based, often involving many hours of research.  She is not easily intimidated by negativity and criticism.  She will acquiesce, however, when opponents can show their way to be superior or if there is a majority consensus. 

I also appreciate the time and effort Lauren takes to present herself in an artful way and think she represents Point Arena for the unique, thoughtful, free thinking community we all call home.

Thank you all for the care and energy you put into our City.
Lisa Riboli

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email:   lauren@artgoddess.com

snail:    P. O. Box 921   Point Arena, CA 95468

phone:    (707) 882-3100


Copyright © Lauren Sinnott 2011