Three candidates are seeking two seats on the Cotati City Council: George Barich, Pat Gilardi and Mark Landman.
The Press Democrat Editorial Board endorsed Gilardi and Landman on Oct. 25. A copy of the editorial is attached below. Did the PD Editorial Board make the right decision? Disagree with the choice? Post a comment to share your thoughts with other members of the community.
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PD Editorial: Moving on
Cotati will keep going forward with Gilardi, Landman
The contest for two Cotati City Council seats on the Nov. 2 ballot is, first and foremost, a referendum on one man.
George Barich was elected to the council two years ago, winning a seat by a margin of just five votes. He was recalled barely a year later, capping 12 tumultuous months of personal squabbles with council colleagues and some more substantive disputes about city services and how to pay for them.
We opposed the recall, though not because we supported Barich. To his credit, he articulately makes the case for fiscal restraint at City Hall. But he created needless drama and overstepped his authority during his brief council tenure. We don’t have any reason to believe it would be different if he returned.
Cotati needs to move ahead, not rekindle old battles. To accomplish that, The Press Democrat recommends Pat Gilardi and Mark Landman for City Council.
Let us be clear, Gilardi and Landman are more than just alternatives to Barich in this election. Along with their council colleagues and dedicated city employees, they’ve taken significant steps to right Cotati’s finances and position the smallest of Sonoma County’s nine cities for economic development.
In many ways, Cotati is a role model for its larger neighbors and the rest of the state.
There is an atmosphere of teamwork and shared sacrifice at City Hall, evidenced by city workers who took voluntary pay cuts of 12 percent to 14 percent as part of a package of spending cuts that convinced Cotati voters to approve a five-year, quarter-cent sales tax increase. City employees subsequently agreed to pay a share of their health insurance and retirement costs for the first time, helping the city further its goal of rebuilding budget reserves while maintaining, and in some cases expanding, basic public services.
The council also has completed work on specific plans for the northern gateway along Old Redwood Highway, where Peet’s Coffee and Tea plans to open soon, and along East Cotati Avenue, where the city is poised to benefit from the restoration of rail service in Sonoma County.
Gilardi, a council member for 10 years, brings a business perspective and an understanding of Cotati residents’ desire to maintain the town’s character. Landman, a retired firefighter who was appointed to the council a year ago, understands the need for fiscal restraint and the value of the city’s employees.
Cotati moved quickly past the recall controversy, which was settled with a 2-to-1 majority voting to remove Barich from office. Voters rejected Barich’s views again in April, when he campaigned against the sales tax increase.
Give Barich points for persistence. For the council race, his platform is unchanged — budget cuts, eschewing state and federal grants and making Cotati more business friendly by, among other things, repealing the formula fast-food business ordinance and the ban on drive-throughs.
Barich’s ideas are worthy of debate, but the messenger has been rejected twice in 12 months by Cotati voters. Council members Pat Gilardi and Mark Landman are the best choices in the Nov. 2 election.