.Open Mic: Keep an eye on Petaluma City Council candidates

Sadly, “pay to play” is a too-familiar concept in Petaluma. For too many years, campaign-contributing real estate developers have been given undue city council influence, resulting in problematic land use, traffic, flood-impact, tree clear-cutting and millions in taxpayer money losses. Petaluma is substantially overdeveloped: 525% of the state’s quota—all luxury-market rate homes.

Recently, a new special interest showed up: AT&T. 

On July 27, Dylan Lloyd, a broadband consultant who is chair of the city’s Technology Advisory Committee (TAC), played a role in AT&T’s attempted co-opting of the City of Petaluma to lobby for AT&T by writing a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission supporting AT&T’s preferred terms for a broadband-related fine. AT&T enjoyed unchallenged access to TAC with no opposing public or consumer viewpoint represented. Only AT&T’s information was presented. 

Despite city staff warning this was murky, potentially a conflict of interest, and outside proper jurisdiction, Chair Lloyd pushed forward—even past a committee member’s challenge (“we don’t have to write a letter”), continuing his dictation of the letter before a vote was taken. Further, Chair Lloyd limited comments by the public to just one-third of usual city committee-allowed time. 

At the following week’s city council meeting (Aug. 1), an outraged public called out TAC’s multiple violations, which included the Brown Act (only one day public notice of AT&T support letter); violation of TAC authority; outside TAC’s jurisdiction. 

At the next TAC meeting (Aug. 24), it was announced the Petaluma city attorney had taken action and called TAC to withdraw the letter. Sharp-eyed Petalumans demanded and got accountability.

The Nov. 8 election is critical for Petaluma. Petaluma’s next city council will decide whether Petaluma becomes sprawl by allowing the pushing out of its Urban Growth Boundary. 

Keeping a sharp eye out for which candidates are funded by special interests as well as which candidates have a record of prioritizing the benefit of those interests is crucial. 

Dylan Lloyd has announced he is running for Petaluma City Council… and his website lists he is supported by multiple real estate development industry interests.

Taryn Obaid lives in Petaluma.


  1. Thank you for this. Currently researching the candidates and issues on the ballot, and information about local races has been hard to come by.

  2. Thanks, Taryn, for diving into the complex manipulations of special interests and political ties. Where can I see who is funding what candidates in this election?

  3. Taryn,

    I appreciate your passion for the City of Petaluma and for being a watchdog for our community. I share many of your values for preserving our environment and responsible governing.
    However, I do take exception on how you are characterizing Dylan Lloyd being a lobbyist for ATT and being a pawn for special interests. I served with Dylan on the TAC when I was chair and know Dylan to be thoughtful, ethical, pragmatic and has only one special interest at heart- the City of Petaluma. Dylan and I also served on a TAC sub-committee for expanding broadband availability within our community. Telecommunications is a messy industry (I know, I have been in the industry for 25 years) and there is no easy answer on being able to provide broadband to area’s that it is not available. Broadband/fiber is an expensive technology to deploy and the telecommunication carriers will not (unfortunately) expand services to areas that do not provide an ROI, unless there are subsidies involved. In listening to your public comment on the July 24th TAC meeting, I do not think you understood what ATT was looking for support on. From my understanding, ATT wanted to spend $6 Million in providing broadband access to area’s outside of Petaluma City limits, instead of paying a $3 Million dollar fine, not to get out of a $16 Billion dollar fine. ATT is not being altruistic in offering this, they are doing it for their own best interests. Believe me, I have no love or respect for ATT as I compete against them everyday in my professional life and I despise their business practices. However, since they are the Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) for much of California, they are unavoidable for providing commercial and residential telecom services. Local companies like Sonic rely on them for delivering services to many of their customers.

    First off, Dylan is not a “broadband consultant” and has no ties to ATT. Secondly, you write to make it appear that Dylan spearheaded the idea of writing a letter of support to the CPUC in favor of ATT. I believe that ATT intro into the TAC was through City of Petaluma staff, who put this as an agenda item. Thirdly, in regard to the Browns Act violation, this was not an error on Dylan and I am not sure that a violation occurred. In reviewing the video of the two past TAC meetings, it was City of Petaluma staff that said the error was on her and was caused by a misunderstand of the terminology used on the public notice and even ran it by the City Attorney, who said that it was not a violation at all because the intent was there. Regarding the drafted letter in support of ATT proposed letter of support, it was worded to say that they would like to express their general support for projects that increase fiber to the home while encouraging competition in the general Petaluma area. All five committee members voted to approve the draft of this letter, even the one that said that they did not have to do anything.
    Additionally, your comment about an outraged public, the “public” was a voice of three people. As for the City Attorney intervening and withdrawing the letter, it was not because of malfeasance or wrongdoing, it was because of a misunderstanding for the city staff liaison that thought she could bring this to the TAC committee and was later informed that this was something that had to go through Council.

    I know Dylan to be a great advocate for the city on his role an the TAC, a great citizen of Petaluma and a terrific family man and we need more people like Dylan to lead our City. I appreciate your opinion but feel that this misleading commentary is factually incorrect.

    Rick Giesea

  4. Rick, thank you for posting your opinion on this article. I too have researched this whole technology committee issue and also come to the conclusion that this article is based on BS. Does the Bohemian fact check anything? If they did, this article would never see the light of day

  5. Taryn, I don’t really care what you consider because you have been lying about this TAC committee since you wrote this slanderous hit pieces.

    1) I am not a sales manager for ATT
    2) Dylan is not a broadband consultant.
    3) this whole ATT letter of support was an issue that was put on the agenda by city staff- not Dylan. This was not a Dylan led action.
    4) There was NO BROWNS ACT VIOLATION! Watch the video of the meetings! City Staff said that this was run by the city attorney and city attorney said that they were in compliance
    5) The city attorney request to withdraw the letter of support was done because it was not in the jurisdiction of the TAC committee to write such a letter and city staff said it was their fault for having this on the agenda to begin with. There was no wrong doing or improper action by anyone on the committee- it was an honest mistake by city staff.
    6) your “sharp eyed” public outrage was a party of one and that ‘sharp eye” has some serious vision issues in that it only see’s the narrative that you created, not the actual truth.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

North Bay Bohemian E-edition North Bay Bohemian E-edition