Healdsburg Calls for Mayor Leah Gold to Resign
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Healdsburg Mayor Leah Gold said at the Healdsburg City Council meeting this week, she doesn't think that talking about racism or police use of force is worthy of putting on the agenda. She said these issues are not a problem in Healdsburg and that our local police force has zero issues with use of force, racial bias or anything of the sort.
Council member David Hagele and Vice Mayor Evelyn Mitchell quickly agreed with her and council member Shaun McCaffery, though on the Zoom Council meeting, said nothing at all. This was all on the record.
This was a part of a nuanced conversation where Council member Joe Naujokas was asking to put a conversation on a future agenda asking the Healdsburg Police Chief to give a report about use of force in Healdsburg (which was shot down and got no traction with other council members at the meeting).
In response to this, many Healdsburg residents wrote to Leah Gold the past few days expressing outrage at her comments. Here is one such email, from Elena Halvorsen:
Dear Mayor Gold,
I am embarrassed and outraged by your comments at Monday night’s council meeting in response to Councilmember Naujokas’s questions about police and race in Healdsburg. I grew up in Healdsburg and am grateful that I have the opportunity to raise my children here. We need more from our elected officials than a complete denial of an issue that many in our town encounter on a daily basis. To say that racism is not a problem in Healdsburg is putting your white privilege on full display. Our own school district has spent three years working to dismantle the systematic racism in our school system and we are only at the beginning of that journey. I was lucky to be on the equity task force that, with help from the National Equity Project, examined the structural racism that our children of color were experiencing at our schools. That structural racism is not confined to our schools but extends to the town as a whole. BIPOC is our community face many barriers that you and I as white women do not encounter. My own family member and resident of Healdsburg experiences racism at the grocery store, on walks, while doing her job, while looking for rentals, truly in all aspects of her life. Your comments silenced the experiences of thousands of your constituents. It is exactly how systematic racism is upheld.
I challenge you to examine your own white privilege and racial bias. Racism will not be eradicated until we, as white people and those with power, acknowledge racism within ourselves and the part we are playing in propping up the rotten system.
“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist” Angela Davis.
The Mayor's response is shocking and revealing:
I really don’t know how to respond to your misplaced outrage and the hyperbolic tone of your letter. Perhaps after you have cooled down a bit we can arrange a civil phone conversation.
Mayor, City of Healdsburg
Additionally, on her official facebook page earlier this week, Mayor Gold referred to the public killing of George Floyd as an “apparent murder” and urged residents not to attend a local protest and exercise their first amendment rights. This is not leadership.
Clearly, the Mayor is out of touch with reality and is not in a position to lead our city in an inclusive and forward-moving manner. We call for her resignation immediately, and for her to be replaced by a BIPOC, so that all citizens of Healdsburg can be represented.
Full audio/video here - once you get there - go to the button Video/Audio on the June 1, 2020 City Council meeting and fast forward to 2:00:30 (two hours and 30 seconds).
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