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Tuesday November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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City of SausalitoCandidate for City Council

Photo of Ian Sobieski

Ian Sobieski

Small Business Advisor
1,877 votes (16.03%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • I have a strong financial background. We spend a lot of money at city hall. I believe my creativity and background can help improve city services.
  • We have hard working a committed city employees and volunteers; and yet residents and businesses feel that things are not working well, I want to help our great employees be more effective by improving the structure they work in.
  • Our current General Plan abandons downtown, it actually calls for a buffer between downtown and the rest of the town. I want to reclaim downtown Sausalito for regional visitors AND residents.



Profession:Small Business Advisor
Chairman, Band of Angels, LLC (1997–current)
Board of Directors, Meals on Wheels of San Francisco — Elected position (2012–2019)


Stanford University Ph.D., Aeronautics and Astronautics (1996)

Community Activities

Lifetime Member, Sausalito Cruising Club (2011–current)
Lifetime Member, West Point Inn Assoc (2015–current)
Lifetime Member, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (1999–current)


I am a first generation American. My parents survived war-tortured Poland as children, grew up under communism, and defected in the 1960s to a better life in America. They expected achievement from their children commensurate with the opportunities available in this country and so by the time I was 25 I had earned a double major in Engineering and Philosophy from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Stanford. I actually did work on rockets for a while so my friends like to use the “It’s not rocket science” joke whenever I make a mistake. My entrepreneurial experience began working as an engineer for a medical device startup, founding a light industrial machine tool startup, and then helping two Stanford undergrads launch what became


This all led to running my own small business that supports angel investors. These are people who love to invest their time and money helping entrepreneurs bring positive change to the world. I have successfully guided this membership based business through two recessions, and I learned a lot from helping more than one hundred other small businesses grow—from high-tech startups to neighborhood restaurants.


I recently finished a six-year term on the Board of Directors of Meals on Wheels of San Francisco, which delivers three million meals a year to homebound seniors. During my tenure on the Meals on Wheels Board, we raised a capital campaign of $45m to build a new state of the art kitchen to increase threefold the number of people served.


Stepping off the Meals on Wheels board means I have more time to give back and serve the home that I love. This is what led me to volunteer this year to serve on Sausalito’s Economic Development Advisory Committee where I was elected Vice-Chair. There I led some creative thinking on how to buy the Bank of America property and what to do with it. I also proposed revisions to the Statement on Racial Justice, which were adopted for recommendation and served on an ad hoc team that helped expedite building permits for a local business that was in danger of closing without them.


I love Sausalito. I love the people, the waterfront, the town’s character—and its characters. I count myself one of them. I ride everywhere I can on my bicycle, and love to kayak and paddle board. I’m a lifetime member of the Sausalito Cruising Club and an avid sailor. All of us who live here cherish Sausalito’s colorful nature, its beauty and its economic diversity. I am running for City Council because there is so much more we can do as a community to keep us on the path of progress. Your vote will help me move the city forward.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I don’t have a rigid platform; I have an approach. I am open minded, deliberate, data driven, thoughtful and collaborative. The current City Council has three incumbents who are lawyers. I love lawyers, my life partner is a lawyer. But I believe my engineering and financial background and mindfulness inspired approach will be a value-add; we can use an engineer with a poet's heart on City Council.


Through my experience working with small businesses, I’ve acquired skills that I can apply to the City Council: managing a given budget for maximum benefit, the importance of planning (and navigating the balance between following that plan and remaining flexible), and working effectively with people to build morale and motivation toward common goals.


My life experiences have taught me that there are often win-win outcomes that are overlooked by the stakeholders because of poor communication or entrenched thinking. I’ve discovered I have a talent for listening, for learning, and for introducing creative alternatives that open up new possibilities for win-win outcomes to occur. Being a good collaborator also requires being open-minded, having patience, respect and trust.


I approach things with an analytical mind rooted in a human perspective (we are not widgets!), and so strive to have a balanced approach between the analytical and emotional in addressing the city’s challenges, conflicts, and opportunities. I believe it’s possible to reach consensus on issues and achieve better outcomes because all stakeholders have a part in shaping our community.


If you agree that Sausalito City Council could benefit from a different mix of talent and a new approach, I welcome your vote.

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