Sonoma vice mayor arrested on suspicion of DUI

Kelso Barnett arrested on Spain Street Tuesday night, addresses the council on Wednesday.|

Sonoma Vice Mayor Kelso Barnett was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence on Tuesday at 7:45 p.m., according to California State Parks public information officer Jorge Moreno.

Barnett was arrested on Spain Street near the Vallejo Home after State Park Rangers observed Barnett making multiple traffic violations in his vehicle, according to Moreno. After failing a field sobriety test, Barnett was transported by State Park rangers to the Sonoma County Jail, according to Moreno, where he spent the night. Rangers could not provide Barnett’s blood alcohol level.

A contrite Barnett made a brief statement before the Sonoma City Council meeting on Wednesday night to address the incident, where he took responsibility for his actions and asked the public for forgiveness.

“Last night, I made a very serious mistake, which led to uncharacteristic behavior that I deeply regret,” Barnett said. “After leaving an event, I misjudged my level of intoxication and got behind the wheel of my car. I was pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence.”

Barnett said that council members must be held to a higher standard, he said, “a standard I fell far short of last night.”

He added, “As most of you know, this town means everything to me, and I will not make this mistake again. My actions are inexcusable, and I can assure you that no one is more disappointed than myself.”

Barnett grew up in Sonoma and attended 12 years of Catholic school at St. Francis Solano. He has served on the Sonoma Planning Commission before being appointed to the City Council in March 2021 to fill the seat of Rachel Hundley, who resigned from the council in January 2021.

“I’m very thankful that no one was injured. But I understand that my conduct carries with it many appropriate consequences. This serious lapse in judgment put our community at risk,” Barnett said. “I humbly ask for forgiveness and will work tirelessly to earn back your trust.”

At the end of the council meeting Wednesday night, members each took a turn addressing Barnett’s incident, all voicing their support for the vice mayor.

“I want to affirm my support of Vice Mayor Barnett, I accept his heartfelt apology for his action last night,” council member Robert Felder said. “And I trust his commitment to move forward from this event and to continue to serve the Sonoma community with his demonstrated dedication and talent.”

Felder said that Sonoma is facing difficult challenges at the moment and that Barnett’s ability would be need to address them together as a council. Mayor Jack Ding and Councilmembers Madolyn Agrimonti and Sandra Lowe agreed, saying they looked forward to working with him on the challenges facing Sonoma.

Contact Chase Hunter at and follow @Chase_HunterB on Twitter.

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