WatchSonoma Watch

Former Cotati councilman launches newspaper


At a time when newspapers are struggling economically, Cotati gadfly and former City Councilman George Barich, who seems always to be pushing against prevailing political winds in Cotati, has launched one.

George Barich

The 2,700 free copies of the first issue of the Cotati Independent — billing itself as “Real News, Real People, Right Direction” — hit doorsteps this week, amplifying criticisms Barich and political allies regularly level at city leaders.

“I was urged by supporters and friends to do something about the propaganda and lies fed to the local press by our city government,” he said in an email Wednesday. “The misinformation just became too much for us to handle.”

The eight-page monthly goes after most of Barich’s favorite marks, including the city’s multimillion dollar plan to redevelop its downtown and its reliance on grant funding.

It quotes and cites Barich frequently — an article about the city budget says: “Barich went on to point out line-by-line the glaring errors he discovered …”

And its columns rail at government regulations, socialism and council actions on ethics violations and police staffing levels.

Barich, who in 2009 was recalled from the council, said his goal is “to celebrate our political, economic and social diversity in Cotati” and “promote tolerance of other viewpoints.”

The broadsheet paper’s first front page presents a photograph of Mayor Janet Orchard under the headline, “Citizen Complaints of Ethics Code Violations Ignored by City Officials.”

The article, with no byline, takes the City Council to task for dismissing ethics complaints filed by Barich and others against Orchard, Councilwoman Pat Gilardi and Councilman Mark Landman.”

Orchard on Wednesday said, “Being Mayor, I see myself featured in a lot of places, so that doesn’t surprise me.”

Of the new paper, she said, “I haven’t really put that much thought into it.”

Barich and other persistent city critics, including the two people besides him who filed ethics complaints against council members, Greg Karraker and Ken Coleman, are contributors. Articles by the Pacific Research Institute, a freemarket advocacy think tank, and opponents of the Sonoma-Marin commuter rail project are also prominently featured.

“I see my role as pointing out in very factual terms what is being done right with local government and what is badly mismanaged,” Karraker said.

His targets in the first issue include a $35,000 city contract with an environmental consultant and its decision to hire a community development director.

Delivered free and sold for 25 cents at newsstands, the paper also is available at thecotatiindependent.com

18 Responses to “Former Cotati councilman launches newspaper”

  1. skywalker says:

    WAY too many of the articles are about Barich!

  2. Pat Riot says:

    You go guys, we need this. The wrong headed Progressives in this County are the most selfish human beings on this earth. The only way to combat their ideas is by putting out ideas that counter and demonstrate reasonable alternatives to their political correctness that is ruining our country.
    Progressives do not like alternatives, it is their way or the highway, and Pelosi’s “Obama Care” clearly demonstrates their attitude. Progressives need to be DOWNGRADED.

  3. Frank says:

    Acceptance and tolerance

  4. GAJ says:


    Please explain to me where the PD has been in conflict with Progressive values.

    Here, I found a starting place for you:

    “Progressive values are fundamental American values. As the Center for American Progress says, “[M]any Americans are positively predisposed toward progressivism as an ideology but… many people remain unaware of its proud past and vision for the future. Progressive reformers at the turn of the 20th century led the charge to create decent working conditions; challenge corporate abuse and special privileges for the wealthy; ensure full equality under law; pass social benefits for the poor, elderly, and unemployed; promote humanitarianism and cooperative security; and implement public interest regulations to protect our natural resources, ensure safe food and medicines, and pave the way for a more humane and efficient economy. These reforms set the stage for broad-based economic growth and increased political equality throughout the 20th century.”


  5. Joseph Donegan says:

    Just a thought.
    Most people think the only right of center paper in the country is the wall street journel, it is what most business men and attorneys read.

  6. Not A Chance says:


    With all due respect, where a paper sets itself apart is the editorial sections, yes, I too read the chronicle and the basic reporting of facts is the same but the spin is completely different. The PD has an absolute stranglehold over the news in Santa Rosa and they use that negatively against progressives, the chronicle does no such thing, they happen to be a center left paper rather than the center right that is the PD.

    And if you don’t recognize the fact that local politics are reported differently than national politics you may want to return to school a take a media class. local papers control local political reporting due to a lack of competition while they have to compete with hundreds of other publications when reporting on said national issues. So that is a pretty weak perch to step out on.

    Your smug conclusions about my traveling are true, I am a native Californian and have followed the news for more than a decade. Having lived in three different regions of the state, following local politics in each, I know conservative slants when I see them. The PD is pro business and anti labor, they have archived stories that I’ve taken the time to read, I see the patterns and if you can take time off from your busy traveling schedule you should take a look.


    Thanks for the proof!

  7. GAJ says:


    I read the San Francisco Chronicle as well as the Press Democrat and really, their positions seem to be pretty much mirror images of each other.

    Both papers have rightfully highlighted out of control contracts granted to Baby Boomer Public Safety employees and City management, and both papers relentlessly hammered the prior administration in Washington, (deservedly so in many respects), but have trodden quite lightly with the current administration.

    Please don’t tell me that the Chronicle is, in your view, Conservative also?

    But perhaps you’re young and haven’t lived in the Northeast, the South, Europe and South America like I have…or run a business with hundreds of employees in California for decades.

    Those kind of experiences tend to open your eyes up a wee bit.

    The Chron is certainly not conservative and neither is the PD.

    Most definitions you find of the word are similar to this:

    “disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change. “

  8. Jason Valez says:

    George’s commitment to public service is exemplary. The more information that goes out to the public the better. City Councils try to circumvent public review whenever possible, sometimes in violation of the Brown Act. The more people there are, like George Barich, the harder it will be for cities to deceive the public. It’s time for people to hear the other side of the story instead of being spoon fed propoganda and lies in the corporate media. Thank you George.

  9. Frank says:

    now i understand why getting to the middle is so diffcult
    the PD conservative? LOL
    i agree the cotati independent will be good, get a differant perseptive

    if we use it here, lets make it here

  10. Not A Chance says:


    Yes. Its a conservative publication. They would endorse many more Republicans if they weren’t so heavily out numbered.

    The PD has a simple formula:

    They bash labor, and praise environmentalists. Its a simple idea, split those two factions on the left in Sonoma County and you could change the face of our politics locally.

    And to your point about the endorsements, every member of the Board of Sups’ is a “Democrat”, Valarie Brown is a Republican in any other county.

    City council: Olivares, Ours, Bartley are all registered Dems, again anywhere else they are Republicans. The PD generally endorses DINO’s,conservative Democrats, just to be players in the game.

    So yes GAJ you’re right, they do support Democrats more than Republicans, but in a region where Democrats win by 60+% consistently the PD has to appear to care for Dems in order to sell papers. This doesn’t mean they’ll ever endorse real progressives. There is a big political difference between a Lynn Woolsey Democrat and a Valarie Brown Democrat.

  11. Endorsements says:

    @ GAJ

    RE: “The PD is conservative?Last time I checked for every Republican they endorsed they endorsed several dozen Democrats.”

    Not always true for local elections – in Petaluma, for example, they endorsed the following Republicans and only one Democrat in the last Mayor and Council election:

    Jeff Mayne for Mayor – Republican
    Mike Harris for City Council – Republican
    Ray Johnson for City Council – Republican
    Jason Davies for City Council – Democrat

  12. GAJ says:

    The PD is conservative?

    Last time I checked for every Republican they endorsed they endorsed several dozen Democrats.

  13. Not A Chance says:


    If you only read conservative media such as The Press Democrat and Mr. George “Black-Face” Barich’s paper you’ll never expand your knowledge beyond what you already believe, you may as well just write your beliefs down on a piece of paper and read that over and over.

    I urge you to read other forms of media to truly grasp all sides of the issues rather than the right leaning sources that will not provide you with the all the facts. The PD is notorious for leaving out key-details when it comes to liberal issues, not that you’d ever support them but as a fellow news reader I feel its best you get all of the facts and then draw your conclusion.

    I guess my biggest fear with this loon having his own paper is that he is a recalled politician who will be inherently bitter toward the people and issues he writes about. I don’t think ANYTHING he writes should be taken as fact, only complete opinion by a proven failure, I don’t mean that to be rude its just what I see when I step back and look at the entire situation.

  14. Average Joe says:

    Most City Councils are by nature occupied by, unqualified but well intended, individuals with personal agendas they wish to push.

    Cotati, Sebastopol and Petaluma are the poster children of this problem. Running a city is a business, not a playground for social experimentation.

    This is precisely why the cities are broke, argue with their unions, and offer crappy service.

    While Georges paper is mostly sophomoric in writing style the CONTENT is factual.

    I’m not sure which is more embarrassing but at least telling truth with a southern drawl is still telling the truth.

  15. Mike says:

    George, you need to move away. Maybe north would be a good idea.

  16. bill says:

    Cheers! The level of bullsh.. that exists in local politics is only matched by the groups who put forth the ex cops and politicians to govern.

    All politicians should serve ONE term.

    Bring about honesty and truth and get rid of groups who support public workers unions and the rest of those who only serve their own interest with the bulk of our tax dollars.

  17. Joseph Donegan says:

    Randolf Hurst said “It does not pay to antagonize a man who buys ink in a fifty five gallon drum” Of course Mr Hurst was a major newspapers man, not some fly by the night operation who’s papers end up clogging our storm sewer system.

  18. Frank says:

    its about time, i will shop at all those that advertise with The Cotati Independent
    oh and PD, i will also subscribe to them as well.