By MELODY KARPINSKI
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Nine Cotati residents have submitted applications for the Cotati City Council vacancy caused by the resignation of Councilwoman Pat Gilardi.
George Barich, Isaac Freed, Linell Hardy, Ed Hirsch, Sky Matula, John Moore, Ashley Veach, Alan Wintermeyer and Eris Weaver filed for the vacancy before Thursday evening’s deadline. The city originally issued applications to 12 people interested in the seat, but three did not file.
Gilardi resigned Jan. 25 to take a job as district director for Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin. The City Council voted unanimously Jan. 23 to appoint a new council member, instead of holding a special election or appointing someone by fiat.
Barich, a controversial former city councilman who was recalled in 2009 after spending less than a year in office, came in fourth in the 2012 election.
“It would really be outrageous for the city to choose anyone else,” Barich said. “The other applicants will need to be brought up to speed, and that’s going to take time and money.”
Two of the candidates, Veach and Hardy, have served the city in some capacity. Veach serves on the city’s Community and Environment Commission, and Hardy served as a city planning commissioner.
“I’ve always had a passion for politics,” said Veach, who majored in political science at Sonoma State University and graduated in 2009.
Hardy, who ran for City Council in 2009, is submitting her second application for a council vacancy. She previously applied for the vacancy left by former Cotati mayor John Guardino.
Moore, whose wife, Lisa Moore, served as a city councilwoman from 2002 to 2006 and as mayor in 2005, was a staunch critic of Barich’s term as councilman and worked to get signatures for Barich’s 2009 recall.
The remaining applicants are new to the scene, but all have expressed a serious interest in civic activities.
“I thought it was a good opportunity to get involved,” said Hirsch, an IT specialist for Cadence Design Systems in San Jose. “I don’t really have the money to fund a campaign, so I thought I’d take my chances with this.”
Freed, a small-business owner who manages several solar energy projects, believes the city needs a fresh vision.
“I’ve been flooded with ideas,” said Freed. “We need to take a business approach to the city and create opportunities.”
The City Council is expected to interview applicants and make a final selection at its March 13 meeting. The city is required to make an appointment by March 26.
You can reach Staff Writer Melody Karpinski at 521-5205 or email@example.com.