Emotional Sebastiani returns to private life


For one of the few Wednesday nights in the last four years, August Sebastiani was home in time to tuck the kids into bed.

He had bid an emotional farewell to public office after four years as a member of the Sonoma City Council. The 30-year-old now turns his attention to business and, foremost, to family.

“This concludes an epic chapter in my life,” he said, “but it’s time to be home by bedtime.”

Sebastiani vowed to continue to contribute to the community as a private citizen. “I love this town and always will,” he said. “I can’t imagine life elsewhere.”

After four years the time has come to dedicate more time to growing his business, he said, and, in keeping with one of his council priorities, creating more jobs. “And prepare my home for another baby.”

Sebastiani and his wife Allison have two young daughters and are expecting a third child next spring. “It’s time for me to be home by bedtime,” he said.

An unabashed Republican, Sebastiani was perhaps the council’s most fiscally conservative member. A proponent of small government, he acknowledged his frequent ‘no’ votes, but said community members were overwhelmingly amicable and respectful of his decisions.

“It’s fascinating,” he said. “Everyone appreciates it if the intentions put Sonoma first.”

The fourth generation member of the winemaking clan was elected in his first run for public office. He chose not to seek re-election after serving one term.

Outgoing Mayor Steve Barbose presented Sebastiani with a plaque commemorating his council tenure.

“We have had our philosophical differences but share a great many things, with a love of Sonoma being first on that list.” Barbose said, “We will miss your wit, intelligence and the passion you have for your views of Sonoma.”

In advance of the swearing in of new Councilmember Tom Rouse, Sebastiani had a few comments for his peers.

To Joanne Sanders, his most consistent ally, he said, “We’ve lost more than our fair share of votes together, but I’m proud as heck to have done it with you.”

Sanders in turn praised Sebastiani for his ability to stay focused and polite under difficult, frustrating circumstances. “You’ve set the bar high for all of us for how we should conduct ourselves,” she said.

Sebastiani admitted that when he first joined the council he was most concerned about member Ken Brown, but “Ken has proven to be a surprising and staunch ally. He’s an overwhelming advocate for family and for Sonoma.”

Sebastiani thanked Barbose for his leadership and guidance, and praised Laurie Gallian, named that evening as the city’s new mayor, as a quick learner and hard worker. He thanked the city staff for its hard work in supporting and preparing the council.

In concluding his moving and often humorous remarks, Sebastiani called for citizens to get involved in city politics. “It’s important that we all participate,” he said. “Step up and make a difference.”

With that, he closed his trademark laptop computer and exited the chambers.


One Response to Emotional Sebastiani returns to private life

  1. Ralph Hutchinson says:

    A heartfelt thanks fo Mr Sebastiani for his dedicated service and willingness to offer a balanced and well respected viewpoint to our City Council. As a multi-generational resident and prominent businessman I always appreciated his perspective. I certainly hope he will from time to time find initiatives he feels strongly about and return to Council Chambers to interject his wisdom and experience.

    I remember two passionate issues and one overarching vision Mr Sebastiani brought to Sonoma; one early on was the Nativity Scene on the City Hall property, and one at the end was his decision not to pursue involvement of City Council into the Banco de Sonoma cause.

    I respect the tradition Mr Sebastiani tried to instill about memories he and many old line Sonoman’s have of the City Hall Holiday decor. I regret my 13 years here as a Valley citizens wasn’t long enough to remember the display. I myself participated in some “live Nativity” scene demonstrations in support of Mr Sebastiani’s cause. Unfortunately it just proved to be too secular today to support that shared vision.

    The second point regarding Banco de Sonoma ties into Mr Sebastiani’s belief that City politics should not venture outside their jurisdiction and I generally agree with that particularly on resolutions like National Politics, Policy, or Military Campaigns. (I differ slightly on the Banco de Sonoma argument but I respect to agree to disagree).

    I certainly am proud to call Sonoma my home and the birthplace of my two children and I think Mr Sebastiani did his part to make Sonoma a better place for me, my family and the entire Sonoma Valley (even outside of City Limits). Your direct and regular involvement will be missed.