Healdsburg Mayor Leah Gold announced on Tuesday morning that she will resign from the City Council after receiving backlash for her objection to discussing Healdsburg police use-of-force tactics in a council meeting earlier this month.
Her resignation will be effective June 30. The city of Healdsburg on Facebook posted Gold's resignation letter that commented on issues pertaining to racism that must be addressed in the community and urged for more inclusivity for people of color to be heard and advocated for.
Healdsburg community members started to express their concerns with Gold earlier this month when she said during a City Council meeting on June 1 that it was not necessary to address policies for police use-of-force in Healdsburg related to racism.
The comments came amid protests around Sonoma County, the Bay Area and nation at large following the Memorial Day death of black man George Floyd under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer.
A City Council member had requested that the Healdsburg police chief explain their use-of-force during the next council meeting, and Gold denied the request, claiming that use-of-force was not a problem among Healdsburg police.
Soon afterward, a petition was created by a community member that received almost 2,000 signatures, titled "Healdsburg Calls for Mayor Leah Gold to Resign" on Change.org.
On June 6, Gold issued a Facebook statement addressing concerns about whether she supported the Black Lives Matter movement, and pushed for police reform in Healdsburg.
She wrote, "I have reflected on the conversations I have had and the letters I have received, and I understand now that my initial response to this was inappropriate."
Then, on June 9, after receiving more backlash, Gold again issued apologetic statements on Facebook. Gold claimed to support the peaceful protests occurring in Healdsburg and Sonoma County surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.
She also included steps that the police chief plans to take, including body worn cameras, bias training, mental health training, de-escalation, and use of force.
In her letter to the community Tuesday, Gold encouraged people of color to apply to run for her seat, saying she assumes the city will put a race on the November ballot to serve the final two years of her City Council term.
She said people can become a candidate by filing nomination papers at City Hall with 25 signatures from supporters and paying a filing fee with Sonoma County, with a filing period of July 13 to Aug. 12. The role of mayor rotates among council members and is not an elected position in Healdsburg.
"We seem to be living through a rare period of history where we have momentum to make significant gains towards justice and equality in the United States," Gold wrote. "I believe that if more diverse leadership is one of the things we accomplish in this moment, it will be an important step forward for our city."