These are the North Bay officials calling on Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli to resign
A growing list of elected officials across Sonoma County called for the resignation Thursday of Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli after four women came forward in a report by the San Francisco Chronicle and accused him of sexual assault in encounters stretching between 2003 and 2019.
The lawmakers who say Foppoli is no longer fit to serve in public office include state Sens. Mike McGuire and Bill Dodd, Assemblyman Jim Wood, all five members of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and Windsor Town Council member Esther Lemus, along with elected leaders in every other city across the county, including all eight other mayors.
Lemus, a deputy Sonoma County district attorney, was the first member of the Windsor Town Council to publicly call on Foppoli to resign.
“In order for our Town to continue to function properly, I request his immediate resignation,” she said in a Twitter post.
State Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, who serves as the assistant majority leader for Democrats in the Senate, said Foppoli had caused “tremendous pain and trauma with his appalling and disgusting behavior.”
“There’s only one option — he needs to resign immediately,” McGuire said in a Twitter post.
Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Santa Rosa the allegations demanded immediate investigation.
“I stand with the women who have shared their painful and most personal experience of being sexually assaulted by Dominic Foppoli,” he posted on Twitter.
In interviews with The Press Democrat, Sonoma County supervisors Lynda Hopkins, David Rabbitt, Susan Gorin, Chris Coursey and James Gore all said Foppoli needed to step down.
“I think there’s no other choice, and he should deal with his own issues as they roll out and give Windsor the opportunity to move on,” Rabbitt said.
“Having a leader who behaves like that it affects us all,” Hopkins said. “It generates distrust. How can someone like that have that much power and rise to that much eminence in our community. That’s something that I think every leader needs to grapple with.”
Coursey said he hopes that District Attorney Jill Ravitch considers reviewing the alleged assaults to see if they should be investigated.
“He’s denying these stories,” Coursey said. “He’s got a right to due process, but on a political level, I think his position is untenable. These are believable stories. ... I think he would be doing himself and the community a favor to step down at this point.”
Gorin agreed with Coursey and also called for a criminal investigation.
“I treat these allegations very, very seriously and I would encourage the District Attorney to fully investigate the circumstances and if the allegations have merit to prosecute” she said.
On Facebook, Gore, whose district includes Windsor, said: “I endorsed Mayor Foppoli for his position on the Windsor Council. In learning about these stories, he should step down from representing the community that he has deeply hurt. I hold myself accountable for not digging deeper into his personal behavior before endorsement, and commit to doing deeper diligence in the future.”
Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Rogers was among the first to condemn Foppoli’s reported behavior on Thursday and call for his resignation.
“I understand that everyone in this country is innocent until proven guilty, but these allegations are credible, specific, documented, and horrifying,” Rogers said in a statement on Facebook. “I felt sick reading this article and had to take multiple breaks — I can only imagine how the victims felt and continue to feel.”
By Thursday evening, he had been joined by all seven other mayors, who in a joint, signed statement called on Foppoli to immediately leave office.
“As your elected local leaders, we are committed to ending sexual violence in Sonoma County and believe the actions by a fellow mayor should not be tolerated,” the statement read.
Healdsburg Councilwoman Ariel Kelley took to Twitter to call for Foppoli’s resignation and said he should be removed if he does not step down.
“This is horrifying,” she wrote. “These allegations are numerous, extensively corroborated, and extremely serious.”
Jackie Elward, vice mayor of Rohnert Park, said Foppoli must step down.
“As public servants, we must be held to a higher standard. This kind of behavior has no place in our County. Sonoma County, we can do better. Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli must resign,” Elward said on Twitter.
Windsor Councilman Sam Salmon, the town’s longest serving elected official, stopped short of calling for Foppoli to step down but acknowledged that was likely where things were headed on the four-member council.
“Really the only action we can take immediately would be to ask Dominic to resign, and I think that would have to be at a council meeting,” Salmon said.
A vacant fifth seat on the council is set to be filled next month in a special election. At least three candidates for that post, Oscar Chavez, Rosa Reynoza and Julia Donoho, added their voices to the swell of those urging Foppoli to go.
Chavez said the allegations amounted to “predatory behavior” by Foppoli.
“He may have the right to due process, but he should not drag the Town of Windsor through the mud while he does so,” Reynoza said in a Facebook post.
Donoho urged people to support the women who came forward to share their accounts. “Let’s applaud the bravery of these women to speak up and pray this will give them strength going forward to a brighter future,” she said on Twitter.
Veteran Councilwoman Deb Fudge, who the Chronicle contacted Tuesday for comment ahead of publication, was unavailable for interviews due to a scheduled surgery on Thursday. In a statement on Facebook, she said was “troubled, confused and shocked/surprised by what I read this morning. I am taking the allegations seriously. I will get back to you when I can.”