WatchSonoma Watch

4 make plans to run for Cotati City Council

George Barich, recalled in 2009, a potential candidate


A former deputy district attorney, two incumbents and a once-recalled councilman have taken out nomination papers for Cotati’s November election.

Should they all submit those papers by Aug. 10, the city, with three council seats up for grabs, will have its third contested election in four years.

George Barich

With George Barich, an often polarizing figure whom voters stripped of his seat in 2009, among those declaring an intention to run, the race is likely to be a lively one.

Barich, who criticizes the council at nearly all its meetings, also publishes the Cotati Independent newspaper, which he uses to launch fierce attacks on city officials and policies.

He came in third in the 2010 election for two seats, with 19 percent of the vote.

He did not respond to calls and an email seeking comment Monday.

Incumbents Susan Harvey, the current mayor, and John Dell’Osso, who was appointed to his seat in 2011 after the death of Mayor Robert Coleman-Senghor, also have declared their intentions to run in the Nov. 6 election.

Wendy Skillman, a former deputy district attorney in Mendocino and Sonoma counties, has taken out nomination papers, too. Currently a contract prosecutor working for the city of Sonoma, she also is a planning commissioner appointed by Harvey.

Susan Harvey.

“I’m not a critic of what’s been decided before me,” Skillman said. “I want to look at it with fresh eyes and see what we can do to maintain the character of Cotati and make good decisions to maintain long-term goals, not just the short-term.”

Only Harvey, a former planning commissioner and information technology manager, had turned her papers back in as of Monday, making hers the only official candidacy.

John Dell'Osso

“I feel like I have more work to do,” said Harvey, who was elected as a replacement for Barich after his 2009 recall.

She said a chief goal would be to help restore city recreation services, which were largely eliminated in cost-cutting measures taken since 2008.

Dell’Osso, a councilman from 1994 to 1998, said he wants to concentrate on restoring city funding that vanished when Gov. Jerry Brown eliminated redevelopment agencies this year.

“It’s much more challenging now to try and leverage what funds are available,” he said. I have a lot of background with regards to budgeting and planning, so I think that I can bring that skill level to help the city out.”

Longtime Councilwoman Janet Orchard is not seeking re-election, stepping down after 12 years. She said she is exploring “exciting” professional opportunities and will support Harvey, Dell’Osso and Skillman.

“We have a good council, we have good candidates, and it’s just something I want to do, step back  … and look at some other things,” she said.

You can reach Staff Writer Jeremy Hay at 521-5212 or jeremy.hay@pressdemocrat.com.

8 Responses to “4 make plans to run for Cotati City Council”

  1. Sam says:

    Time and time again, it comes down to character not politics. Mr. Barich has shown that he will continue to cut corners to try to get ahead and the Cotati population has shown they don’t want a person who continues to show lack of judgement, does not work well with others and shows lack of respect to many, while producing a somewhat of a paper with no dignity, no substance and just puts everyone down negatively.

    There has been nothing that makes me want to vote for a narcissist candidate. there is no place for that kind of person. He has yet to prove to me that his character is shaping up to be the pinnacle of this community.

    The facts and public record in the Sonoma County Courts proves to me he does have the right to speak his OPINION. However, it shows that he does NOT have the right to be the voice of me and the majority of the Cotati population.

    With less than 20% voters of Cotati voting for him, shows that his paper, his outspoken typewriter has done nothing to improve his votes for his politics, his word, his friends, his business and his Character.

    Thank you Cotati Voters for speaking up and voting for respect and growth for a community that has been around longer than the tenure of all candidates of this community.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. indievoter says:

    I agree with Greg on Janet Orchard. As much as I disagree with her politics, she always kept a professional attitude. Pat Gilardi and Mark Landman are egotistical jerks, John Dell’Osso is a well intentioned but lost soul, and Susan Harvey is indescribable- in a bad way.

    Barich is the only way to go in this election. Cotati desperately needs a voice against ICLEI and Agenda 21 corruption, including the idiotic roundabouts that are part of the Agenda 21 model.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 12

  3. Something for all Cotati voters to remember:

    Mayor Harvey and council member Dell ‘ Osso have repeatedly voted in favor of one-lane roundabouts.

    George Barich opposes the current roundabout plan 100%.

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 14

  4. Missy says:

    The thing is, George will probably win again, why did the PD write this biased angry article about him? Come on, at least be FAIR to all the candidates.

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 14

  5. Greg Gerrard says:

    Glad that George is back in the running, someone needs to stop the rectal-cranial inversion that is running rampant on the Cotati city council. George is sensible and frugal with city money, but is willing to spend for programs that make sense, like education, and public services that actually need financing not for inflated salaries. Vote for Barich, and Press Democrat, shame on you for deleting pro-Barich comments!

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 21

  6. Jim Bennett says:

    Wow, that wasn’t a biased hit piece.

    There was one righteous council member in Sonoma County during the bailout/’stimulous’/TARP chapter.
    His name is George Barich.
    He wasn’t in lock step with these ICLEI adherant progressives. He didn’t see a need to put the town way further in the red just so they could install more Smart Growth. He didn’t feel right about taking a paycheck when the town was in the red. He had an open door policy on Monday nights that provided citizens a direct communication line with their representation. Evidently the ICLEI cronies didn’t like that either.
    The concerted hatchet job that the progressive Cotati Council did on George is badge of honor. These traitors have an Agenda to carry out and George worked for the people.
    Watch what happens in Cotati, for it is a microcosm of what’s goin’ on in ICLEI towns everywhere. Observe City Hall’s resolve against the will of the people. Observe their resolve to not let anyone on Council that isn’t ‘on the Program’. Observe how the PD portrays a patriot.

    What we need right now is more…
    “polarizing figures”.

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 16

  7. I’ll miss Janet Orchard. Politically, we disagree on nearly everything, but I found her to be professional, competent, and more than qualified to show less competent mayors how to conduct a meeting properly.

    Now that she is not running, only one other candidate understands or follows Roberts Rules of Order: George Barich. The council needs his competence, and the city needs his adult perspective on fiscal responsibility.

    Now that Ms. Orchard is not running,The best possible use of your vote this fall is to vote Barich and only Barich.

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 20

  8. Missy says:

    George Barich is the only good one running.

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 21

Leave a Reply