Town Council: Meeting Notes — November 16th

Don’t Cry For Me Argentina. Or Yountville. 

“You, Yountville, are your citizens….” – Vice Mayor, Kerri Dorman

Near the end of the Town Council meeting Tuesday night, a special announcement by the Vice Mayor, with its 12-minute speech, definitely deserves its own Meeting Notes today. Our Vice Mayor, Kerri Dorman, announced that she and Devon Avery would be leaving the Town of Yountville. There were so many platitudes; I will try my best to hit them all.

So, on to the show. Performing for one night only, back on the balcony of the presidential palace, I mean in the Council Chambers of the Town of Yountville, Vice Mayor Kerri Dorman. 

“All this to say Yountville…, “my first love for you has not waned, and it never will.”

(Eva Peron, (Evita) … she did it through the sheer force of her own will and desire to become the person she conceived herself to be. Evita sought to realize her grandiose aspirations by creating her own public image and myth. She indeed was a self-made woman and invented herself for the public eye.) 

“Yountville, you embraced us, encouraged us, exceeded our expectations, our hopes, and dreams, and allowed us to stretch and grow.” “I am changed for the better… by having lived the joy of being one of your own.”,

(Evita made herself into the people’s idol by displaying herself to the world in a manner that was best calculated to elicit the adoration of her audience.) 

The Vice Mayor chose the location to give her message as that of the Council Chambers, from the wings, where she first started in 2016. When she was in Chambers this entire meeting, she had up her false background for Zoom, so none of us had an actual clue where she was, but it was important to her, and she let us all know that it’s “good to be back.”

Although it was a love of Yountville at first sight in 2010 and then as a full-time resident in 2013, moving into a bigger place, it is now time to say farewell. For farewell is the Vice Mayor’s word because she chooses her words carefully, and farewell is that word. And let us not forget how well she chooses her words as she did during the October 5 Council meeting, “It’s not that complex; I’m a retired lawyer. I could take a soda straw and make it complex.”

(so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye
I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye — Goodbye!
I’m glad to go; I cannot tell a lie)

We were reminded that when Devon and Kerri first came to Town, the Yountville Sun gave them both a chance to have a byline, even though neither of them had ever written before. The byline for Devon continues today. Devon is leaving too, so how will I know, without the constant, weekly updates in Out and About of the Vice Mayor or Kerri Dorman? Because when you separate the names, you can reference the same person more often in the same article. Week after week. Month after month.

The details of Kerri’s foray into local politics came into view when she reminded us that in 2015 she stepped up to replace Lewis Chilton as he was vacating his Council seat to move to Southern California. The Town decided to appoint someone instead of having a special election. “I came in dead last,” Kerri said. Coming in last did not deter her, and as she passionately explained, she knew she “had to be involved.” “Had to be involved” would become her modus operandi for anything that had an attachment to the Town of Yountville… whether the community wanted it or not.

Kerri started at the ZDRB, ran for the Council unopposed, and had her first Council meeting in December 2016. She stated that her crowning and, I would say, most significant contribution (I tried to look for others) to the Town of Yountville was becoming Vice Mayor in December of 2018. She said, “my fellow Council members selected me for Vice Mayor,” “a great honor, really one of the great honors in my life.” (Point of clarification; two of her fellow Council members did not select her in 2018.) Again in December 2020, it was “another great honor to remain as Vice Mayor,” even though the Mayor and the most senior Council member opposed it. “…had to be involved.”

So what does the future hold for Kerri Dorman? She then announced this zinger, “As many of you know, I had planned to ask for and earn your vote for mayor next year.” 

(should of, would of, could of)

Hold on! She tells us that she is leaving Town but was going to run for the position of Mayor should she have remained in Yountville? This is her formal announcement for her candidacy? Is she asking for your vote? None of us knew this, so this announcement comes the day she is also announcing she is leaving Town. Crafty.

What could be her intent?`

Could it be, as she stated, “I am leaving, but I am confident that you will make the most of your opportunities.” Or, here’s what you should do because even though I am leaving, I still “had to be involved.”  Maybe it’s for confirmation, admiration, and validation? No votes to be counted, for or against, so no official data, just approving feedback from those closest to you, possibly your Friday night pod.

So before she departs, we get final instructions, via a list, of what we should do for the Town election next year. It was quite a list. Ok, I’ll be honest, it mainly was buzzwords and platitudes, but I wrote them like a list. I felt she was talking to me, so I wrote feverishly.

Apparently, according to Dorman, public servants should:

  • run for the right reasons 
  • make sure that Yountville fares well (get it, farewell?!)
  • remember and look back at everything that has been brought us to this point
  • know this position must be earned (or be appointed and never have to campaign)
  • know that leading and caring for our Town is a right, not a privilege 
  • be committed to working together (without any additional Town staff)
  • come to this (Council) Chamber only to work for you (she pointed around the Chamber, so I guess this is the reason she was in there)
  • communicate and collaborate on your behalf (except when, as she stated in a previous meeting, “the five opinions that matter are the opinions of this Council”)
  • not be petty, not posture 
  • not seek division (she can do the math so she will change her vote to the majority’s way)
  • have candor, civility, fair play, integrity, smarts, compassion, strong work ethic, genuine love, and concern
  • initiate the changes that are around us
  • respect you and want to sit down with you and talk, put you first 

Then, voters should:

  • select leaders who bring new ideas in creativity and empirical data about how to honor our past and meet our future (like an Economic Committee or yet another Ad Hoc committee?)
  • not accept half-truths and opinions presented as facts 
  • be aware we all have egos; pick a leader who is willing to put that aside
  • insist on the whole true story 

In that case, based on these instructions, what are the Vice Mayor’s recent actions in reference to the above list?

Well, “had to be involved” culminated at the November 2 Council meeting when the Council took discussion and action to create a Housing Ad Hoc Committee for the Town of Yountville. This committee was to be comprised of two Council members, and it was understood that this Ad Hoc Committee would be meeting over the next 12 months and into 18 months. Councilmember Eric Knight stepped up to volunteer his time to this committee. The Mayor then stated reasons for nominating himself (John Dunbar) and the Vice Mayor based on past committees and experience. Immediately, Kerri Dorman happily accepted the committee position, pushing Council member Knight to the side. Councilmember Knight then graciously stepped aside.  

Fast forward 14 days later, and the Vice Mayor gives her farewell speech. She knew she was leaving when she accepted that Ad Hoc position at that November 2 meeting, and instead of deferring to Council member Knight, she “had to be involved.” It appears, yet again, she needed to elicit that adoration, the momentary focus of attention, at the expense of the Town she knew she was leaving. 2010 -2021 summed up in one simple act.

“Yountville, I hope you know I love you, please fare well,” I get it, the whole farewell thing. 

(bye, Felicia)

You’ve really got to watch it yourself. Watch it!. The Vice Mayor’s “show” starts at 1:03:12.

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Darlene de Beauclair
Darlene de Beauclair
8 months ago

There can be only one response to this diatribe, Jeff. You wonder why you weren’t re-elected to Town Council??? Look within.

It’s truly a shame that you have nothing better to do than spend your days writing bitter criticism of people who are involved and working to improve our town.

Joe Wolosz
Joe Wolosz
8 months ago

Full disclosure, I am Jeff Durham’s husband.

Yes, we are a small town however, that does not lessen the responsibility of a democracy.

The vice-mayor is an elected/appointed official who is a public figure and a local politician.

She asked the town staff to use the public town chambers to give a quasi-personal 12-minute address to the public during a town meeting.

This is politics at the closest, local level and is up for public scrutiny. Citizens should question the intent, concern, and competence of our local leaders just as we do on a national level. We have that right and it could be argued our responsibility.

Last edited 8 months ago by Joe Wolosz