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9 vie for open seat on Cotati City Council




The applicants for a vacant seat on the Cotati City Council. Top row, left to right: George Barich, Isaac Freed, Linnell Hardy, Ed Hirsch. Bottom row, left to right: Sky Matula, Ashley Veach, Eris Weaver, Alan Wintermeyer. Not pictured: John Moore.

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 melody.karpinski@pressdemocrat.com.

8 Responses to “9 vie for open seat on Cotati City Council”

  1. Jean Anderson says:


    That was one of the most articulate, truthful and intelligent posts ever seen on this site about Cotati politics.

    But it makes too much sense, so I doubt anyone will listen.

  2. James Bennett says:

    Lols: Who took initiative for the recall effort?
    Citizens or Council?

    Something tells me our County will get very used to seeing legitimate, well founded recalls.

    Very soon.

  3. Lols says:

    James, clearly our understanding of history is different. But, at the end of the day, the voters have still removed and rejected him.

  4. Phil Maher says:

    And you know that the entire reason that Mark Landman (regardless of his right to do so)is not allowing George a seat, in spite of being the next highest popular vote getter in Nov, is because he worked so hard to recall him. Linell Hardy was John Guardino’s campaign manager when the campaign finance issue took place. And John Moore is just an angry and spiteful drunk. That knocks the field down to only six applicants. So, in the spirit of the Cotati City Council’s acumen at making decisions, I say appoint Ashley Veach, if for no other reason than she’s the cutest.

  5. James Bennett says:

    Lols: as you well know, initiative to attack Barich was from a devout Council that freaked when he thought for himself and his community.
    He thought that burying our children in debt to install smart growth was a bad idea.
    Especially amid a fiscal backdrop that included Cotati not even being able to afford basics; like police cars.
    They lodged a full blown hatchet/propaganda job on him.
    The details of which are beyond belief.

  6. Lols says:

    Barich is a non-starter. The people of Cotati removed him and haven’t seen fit to put him back into office since. If there had been four seats open in the last election, rather than three, then four people would have run…and they all would have beat George.

    But hey, it at least gets his name in the paper a few more times.

  7. Phaedra Glidden says:

    I really hope that the Cotati City Council will do the right thing and let George have the job!

    I have had the opportunity to meet George on several occasions and there is probably not another person who actually CARES about that little town of Cotati more than he. He is not popular with some because he advocats for fiscal responsibility and financial sustainability for the town. He clearly sees the “big picture” when it comes to the financial health of Cotati. He is not interested in taking the carrots that the federal government is trying to offer.

    I also think that it might be good to have more balance on the council. Too many heads thinking too much alike is not necessarily a good thing for anything, much less effectively running a city.

  8. James Bennett says:

    The law, or at least a good responsible conscience should tell this ‘lil soviet council that the next highest vote getter should win the position.

    This whole drama, the way they went after Barich for not wanting to bury Cotati in debt. The whole thing stinks of a treasonous rogue city hall.

    This should help illustrate that once a town signs up with ICLEI, they no longer work for the people.

    They work for globalists.

    Imposing their will, not ours.

    After everything they put him through, he deserves it.