Site Policies

The City of Sebastopol maintains an online presence via its website and other sites such as Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and NextDoor to serve as mechanisms for communication between the public and the City on the listed topics and a forum to further the mission of the City. Any comment submitted to such pages/accounts and their lists of fans/followers may be considered a public record which may be subject to disclosure pursuant to the California Public Records Act. 

Social Media Public Comment Policy

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and NextDoor are intended to serve as mechanisms for communication between the public and the City on the listed topics and a forum to further the mission of the City. Any comment submitted to such pages/accounts and their lists of fans/followers may be considered a public record which may be subject to disclosure pursuant to the California Public Records Act.

Comments posted to this page will be monitored and inappropriate content will be removed as soon as possible.

The City of Sebastopol welcomes your comments. The purpose of this discussion is to present information relevant to the stated purpose of this site, regarding matters of public interest in the City of Sebastopol. We encourage you to submit your comments, but please note this is a moderated online discussion site and not a public forum.

Please note that the comments expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of the City of Sebastopol, its officers, agents, affiliates, or employees. If you have any questions concerning the operation of this online moderated discussion site, please contact us at

By posting anything to this site, you agree to the following terms

Users will treat others with respect. Users warrant that they own or have permission to post the information contained in their postings, including but not limited to video, photos, or digital reproductions and that no copyright or trademark infringement has taken place due to posting it on this site. Further, the City of Sebastopol does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by users on this site is correct and disclaims any liability whatsoever for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information.

Users of this site do not retain any rights over their postings. Postings are intended for public view and any personal information posted constitutes a waiver of any rights to privacy or confidentiality.

Once posted, the City of Sebastopol reserves the right to delete submissions that contain vulgar language, personal attacks of any kind, or comments that promote, foster or perpetuate discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation. Further, the City of Sebastopol also reserves the right to delete comments that are: (i) spam or include links to other sites; (ii) clearly off topic; (iii) advocate illegal activity; (iv) promote particular services, products, or political organizations; (v) tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems; or (vi) infringe on copyrights or trademarks.

Personal Social Media Use Policy

City of Sebastopol Policy on Personal Social Media Use by City Representatives

The City recognizes that City officials, City staff and any other City personnel (“City representatives”) have the right to express their personal views through private social media use. However, City representatives bound by this Policy must understand that non-public information (e.g., proprietary information; confidential personnel matters; and attorney-client privileged information; etc.) may not be conveyed through social media unless and until the release of such information becomes lawful and has been authorized by the City in accordance with federal or state law.

City representatives do not need to obtain permission from the City to participate in social media in their personal capacity. City representatives are encouraged to check with City management if they have any questions related to personal use of social media.

The City is not responsible for the contents or accuracy of material posted when a City representative is using social media in a personal capacity. Publication of such content on a personal social media site does not constitute an endorsement by the City. City representatives acting in a personal capacity should do everything reasonably practicable to make certain that it does not appear to other social media users or the public that they are speaking for the City.

City representatives shall not use official City email accounts when establishing, setting up, or using social media sites for personal or non-City/non-official activities.

When City representatives bound by this Policy, including City officials, use social media in their respective personal capacities, they acknowledge that posts related to City business may be deemed public records under the California Public Records Act. Further, City officials should avoid blocking third parties or deleting posts and/or comments on personal social media accounts as many public officials have been sued on this basis under First Amendment principles.

Additional Restrictions Specific to City Officials

  1. City officials must keep their social media presence separate from that of the City, and from that of other City officials. City officials shall include the following language on their personal social media sites to prevent confusion and false public expectations that their sites are affiliated with the City: “This page is not operated by the City of Sebastopol and is not a reflection of the City’s policies or opinions.” For City officials on the City Council, the language shall be as follows: “This page is not operated by the City of Sebastopol and is not a reflection of the City’s policies or opinions or those of the City Council.”
  2. City social media sites will be managed consistent with the Brown Act. City officials shall only comment, like, share, retweet, etc. any published City social media posting when doing so encourages public participation or otherwise disseminates information in a manner consistent with this Policy, but should be wary of sharing opinions on those postings to limit the risk of a Brown Act violation and should never  share opinions on items before the City Council that require due process including but not limited to land use matters, and other matters involving life, liberty, or property interests. Officials shall not use electronic communications to engage in serial meetings in violation of the Brown Act.

a. For example, if a project has been approved by the Planning Commission and will come before the City Council as a public hearing item for approval, City Councilmember A cannot post on social media their thoughts on said project before the time of that public hearing.

  1. In compliance with the Brown Act, City officials will not comment or express their opinion via words or a digital sticker (emoji i.e. thumbs up or smiley face) on another City official’s post regarding any issue within their subject matter jurisdiction, even when there is not a quorum of the board.
  2. During an emergency, make sure to only share confirmed information on personal social media sites to avoid confusion and refer constituents to the official City of Sebastopol website or City social media sites for up-to-date information.

The City is not responsible for the contents or accuracy of material posted on City officials’ personal social media sites, or for any comments made by City officials on City’s Social Media Sites posted independently and without the City’s consent or approval. Publication of such content does not constitute an endorsement by the City.

Website Usage Administrative Policy