Cotati deadlocks over request to proclaim town a monument
Independent Journal, San Rafeal, CA August 11, 1976
The Cotati City Council deadlocked last night on asking President Gerald Ford to proclaim the whole town a national monument. The council - which approved the monument designation locally a month ago -. saw 'Gen. Waste-More-Land" return to urge the council to seek official status from the federal government.
The "general," actor Thomas Michael Dunphy, again was dressed in costume of a five-star general complete with decorative plastic airplanes, ribbons, braids and medals.
Dunphy urged the monument status because he believes Cotati is the center of the 1976 revolutionary spirit and compared it to the working class ouster of the British bourgeoisie in 1776. He said the city would be eligible for federal grants and cited sections of the United States code that would permit the national monument designation.
"I'm sure he'd (Ford) like to have the opportunity to make us a national monument and would not want to delay it until Mr. Carter is president," Dunphy told a laughing crowd at the council meeting.
When councilman Frank Gleason suggested the city work through the office of Rep. Don H. Clausen, R-Second District, Mayor William A. J. Payne responded, 'Please understand this man is a five star general - he must go right to the top."
Councilman James Barrett joined Payne in approving the federal request, but councilmen Allan Stansbury and Gleason dissented, making the vote 2-2. Vice Mayor Harry Fassio, who had earlier called Dunhys pIan "ridiculous" stalked out of the meeting when the presentation began at 12:15 am.
Cotati: The live-in National Monument
Barbara Doherty, Cotati Call, Thursday, July 22, 1976 Vol.111, No.9
Clearly the most stunning action taken by the Cotati City Council last week was the 3-2 vote to declare this city a national monument and tourist attraction.
The action came after Cotati resident Thomas Dunphy, known to many as General Waste-More-Land, delivered a rousing speech during the meeting's Citizens' Business. Dunphy's main objective was to prevent growth of high-rise apartment building in Cotati by designating the town an historical site."
Dunphy, sporting plastic airplanes on his full military uniform, asked "Is there any citizen who would have wished to bulldoze General' Washington's home to raise the ugly specter of a sky-scraper and further pollute our life? I dare say nay!"
Cotati would also benefit financially from the designation,. according to Dunphy. "The profit made from tourism could fill our empty coffers and could be used to reduce the oppressive tax rate which is so hard against our citizens," he said.
Further suggestions from General Waste-More-Land included construction of a city museum, and guided tours of Cotati for which the city's youth could be employed."
No discussion was needed by the council to approve the proposal after Councilmember James Barrett presented it for a vote. He was supported by Mayor William Payne and Councilmember Frank Gleason. The dissenting votes came from ViceMayor Harry Fassio and Councilrnember Allen Stansbury.
When asked how Cotati could be helped by the historical designation, Mayor Payne later said, "Maybe we'll get some federal grants now!" Meanwhile, Dunphy's declaration that "Cotati is the hub of the 1976 revolution" may not be far from the truth.
One member of the Cotati Citizen's Union, Appelbaum, would like to take historical designation more seriously. "There's a possibility that it really could happen. There's a number of things in this city that make it unique; the people alone are unique," he said. Appelbaum says he plans to study the matter, and added, "It's a matter of compiling the facts and presenting them to the council."